Updated 5:28 p.m. Monday, July 1, with additional details.
NORWALK, Conn. – A man who was named National Superintendent of the Year in 2006 has been selected by the Norwalk Board of Education be Norwalk’s new Superintendent of Schools.
Subject to approval of his contract by the Board at its meeting of July 9, it is expected that Manuel J. Rivera will begin his term as superintendent on July 18.
He will be the first Latino superintendent in Norwalk’s, history, according to Board of Education Chairman Mike Lyons.
The announcement was made Monday afternoon in a press release. The BOE said earlier that the announcement would be held up until July 9.
The former superintendent of the Rochester Public Schools (with 47,000 students, 56 schools and 6,000 employees) is no stranger to Norwalk, the release said.
“He lived in Norwalk for many years and his children attended Silvermine, West Rocks and Norwalk High School (one of his daughters graduated with the Class of 2004 at NHS),” Lyons said in a press release.
A graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in urban studies (and where he was an NCAA Track and Field All-American), Rivera later received his masters and doctorate degrees in education from Harvard University, the release said. He served as Deputy Secretary of Education for the state of New York (taking that position in lieu of an offer he had received to become superintendent of the Boston Public Schools), and has also had extensive private sector experience with Edison Schools Inc. and Education Learning Alliance Inc.
Rivera has a long record of working to close the achievement gap affecting minority students, for which he received recognition from the Congressional Black Caucus as its TEC Champion Award recipient in 2005.
Lyons said in the release that Rivera “shares the board’s commitment to building a school district of excellence for the 21st century, one that truly embraces diversity and the goal of success for each and every student. We believe that he will bring to his superintendency all the talents and values the board – and the Norwalk community – looked for in our lengthy search.”
Rivera told the Board that he is “very knowledgeable about the city of Norwalk and knows first-hand that it is a wonderful and terrific community in which to live.” He was a Norwalk resident (homeowner) and parent for many years, according to the release. “We are happy to welcome him back, and excited to have him take the helm of the Norwalk Public Schools,” Lyons concluded.
Rivera was recognized as New York State Superintendent of the Year in 2005 by the N.Y. State Council of School Superintendents and National Superintendent of the Year in 2006 by the American Association of School Superintendents.