Norwalk superintendent announcement put off to July 9

There’s no chance of pretending that next week’s fireworks are held in honor of the new Norwalk superintendent. (Photo by Flickr user Marco Bellucci.)

NORWALK, Conn. – You’re going to have to wait an extra week to find out who Norwalk’s next superintendent is, Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons said Friday.

Lyons had been hoping to reveal the identity of the top-secret mystery man at next Tuesday’s BOE meeting, but a stipulation in a federal agreement with the Norwalk Federation of Teachers has caused a delay. The board must give the NFT four days to review the new super’s contract and the deadline has passed for the board to be able to vote on it Tuesday.

“Well, we tried our best, but just weren’t able to get all the technicalities ironed out in the superintendent’s contract,” Lyons said in an email Friday. “It’ll be done by Monday, but that won’t meet the requirements of the union agreement, so I’m pushing the appointment off to July 9.”

He is still hoping that the new superintendent will begin work in mid-July.

Lyons has said the new superintendent is a man but declined to give any other information, not even what state the super is coming from.

The union has time to object as “it’s not a done deal until the board votes on the 9th,” he said.

The board had agreed to a salary range of $230,000 to $250,000 total. Board members allowed $250,000 for the salary in their 2013-2014 operating budget Tuesday. Board member Migdalia Rivas argued that it should be reduced to $235,000 but other members said they would be able to spend the extra $15,000 if it weren’t needed. Rivas proposed an amendment to the budget to lower the amount but she was the only one to vote for it. Board member Rosa Murray abstained.


12 responses to “Norwalk superintendent announcement put off to July 9”

  1. jjones

    The union has too much power

  2. M. Murray’s

    Because they expected the Board to follow te rules?

  3. Mike Lyons

    jjones and M. Murray are both right. We DO have to follow the agreement, but it is a ridiculous agreement that demonstrates the excessive influence of the teachers union over the Norwalk schools. No other union in the City gets such ‘pre-notice’ of the activity of any other board, and no other school union (e.g., administrators) gets it either. I am not aware of any other BoE in the state operating under such a rule. We will abide by it because we keep our agreements, but jjones is right.

  4. Lisa Thomson

    M. Murray
    I see you commenting a lot on education matters as well as the BoE. Having been sucked into the vortex of Norwalk education matters on a variety of levels over the past 10 years, I must confess that this BoE, under the chairmanship of Mike Lyons and the bi-partisan support of the Fab 5 has done more to finally draw the line at the status quo culture than any other BoE in history.

    The days of rubber stamping decades of cronyism and mediocrity from both administration and union leadership has landed us as a District in Need of Improvement, frightened off young families necessary to keep our city vibrant and in the past year run out 3 strong change agents as they have throw their hands up in disgust. The national narrative of reform that is sweeping the nation has some very local faces. A new superintendent supported by a BoE that has said enough is enough is what our city needs.
    Please don’t undermine them.

  5. M. Murray’s

    I had been sucked into the vortex on various levels for 25 years, as you probably know. Most know I am friends or acquaintances with board members on this evenly divided board. And it is no different than prior boards who were split 5-4 on the opposite side. I think they had an opportunity to be transparent with thi selection process and they chose not to. I also know that by failing to do a site visit and hiring a search committee that has proven in the past to not do quality background investigations, they opened themselves to criticism if they choose someone who later proves to have a dubious past. Shortly after Marks was selected, I spoke with people familiar with Montgomery schools said that she didn’t have te personality to pull this off, and by choosing not to move her family up here the writing was in the wall. Hopefully someone conducted a background check because PROACT failed San Antonio miserably.

  6. Ante Litteram BOE

    How can this site let Lisa Thompson tell all her tall tales?
    Susan Marks quit after two years of showing no leadership. Thompson’s “Fab Five” voted to give her a sweet severance deal. Marks’ budget proposals hurt education because she never took the time to listen to anyone except the RedApples and company.
    Bob McCain left Norwalk for a dream job starting the brand new Two Rivers Magnet High School. He saved hours every day on his commute. If Thompson really knew what was going on, she’d know that one of her “Fab Five” (Angry Jack) had a vendetta against McCain and that Kassimis and Calarossi were McCain supporters.
    Elio Longo was buried for years under Sue Haynie’s demands for reports. He had a ton of support from the BOE. Maybe he left because of Haynie. Maybe he left because Lyons and Chiaramonte refused to control her demands. MAYBE HE LEFT TO MAKE MORE MONEY WORKING IN A MORE STABLE DISTRICT WITHOUT REDAPPLES?
    Finally, can anyone tell me one thing the teachers’ union has power over? Nontenured teachers get let go all the time and the union does nothing to protect them. One grievance in years- no grievances over the ridiculous class sizes since Marks’ budget cuts- and this is a powerful union?

  7. Oldtimer

    It is so easy to blame a union for an administration’s mistakes. The court order wouldn’t be there if the administration hadn’t over reached then. The union wouldn’t be there if the teachers weren’t convinced by years of history that they would not be treated fairly without a strong union. Norwalk teachers had to strike, many years ago (1948 ?), to get equal pay for female teachers, and teachers learn from history. The teacher’s union has not generally been difficult to deal with when the administration treats the teachers fairly and abides by negotiated contracts.

  8. M. Murray’s

    I also don’t believe you can hold the union, administrators, or the Board for our District in Need status. I haven’t analyzed the list of these schools, but I am confident that local suburban schools are not on the list. I think it is more because parents are in need. They need to know how to educate their children at home to prepare them for school, supervise homework, and not expect teachers to have the sole responsibility for education their children.

  9. Lisa Thomson

    M. Murray
    You raise a valid point about education beginning in the home. No doubt Norwalk’s standardize testing suffers more than our leafy neighbors due to economics. But we needn’t be a district in need of improvement.

    At one end of the spectrum we have denial or nostalgia for the way ‘things used to be’ versus the realities of 2013. At the uglier end of the spectrum we have gatekeeping and infighting between adult factions who’ve been in-charge forever. The ‘new’ economy, coupled with administration and union leadership clinging to a nostalgic past or personal vendettas has resulted in misdirected energy with many students left behind as Norwalk fails to realize outside investments.

    I’m a vocal parent who has fundraised and written grants for the past 10 years and watched as the taxpayer has cried ‘enough.’ Cities like Stamford and New Haven have enjoyed corporate and foundational financial support for innovative reforms while cities like Bridgeport and Hartford take the lion share of ECS funding. I’m tired of folks whining about the unfairness of it all. It’s time for NPS and our city officials to take responsibility.

    Marks may not have had the ‘in your face’ management style Norwalk needed, but she did have the respect of educational foundations and corporate sponsors. She brought in $5m for student programs aimed at raising the academic bar and closing the achievement gap. Something students and the reputation of our town desperately need. My argument with the NPS status quo and Norwalk officials is that if they could have done it, why didn’t they?

    Ante Litteram BOE
    You give me more credit/blame than I am due. Educational reform is a national narrative, along with the acknowledgement that public education hasn’t changed its operations since the days of the little red school house. To think Norwalk is the exception is ridiculous.

  10. Ante Litteram BOE

    Actually, LBT, I give you no credit. Your BOE puppet has been responsible for excessive demands for information. She has filed many FOIA demands to get information. She has no regard for the other responsibilities of staff members. Please don’t get me started on the mean-spirited postings from your other member of your “FabFive” (Barbis).
    Also you dodge the central points I made. It is about time that you stop hiding behind “national reform” doublespeak and acknowledge the double standards you support.

  11. Lisa Thomson

    Ante Litteram BOE the fact that you hide behind an annonymous pseudonym speaks volumes of how things have run in Norwalk for far too long. You have every right to disagree with my positions, but at least I have the courage to put my name on what I write.

  12. M. Murray’s

    I agree with your position on corporate donations and grants. It is a great idea and one I suggested many years ago to supply athletic equipment, fields, and scoreboards. It was against board policy at that time and am glad to hear that times have changed. Unfortunately this city has been pretty evenly divided on budgetary and educational issues for many years. Now we have gone from a slight majority on one side to a slight majority on the other. Don’t expect things will be easier for the newajority than they were for the old. They had a chance to have transparency and openness in thi Superintendent search, and they failed to do so. This won’t bode well I this Superintendent fails or leaves after 2 or 3 years like te last one.

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