NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools has announced four high-level hires and one major personnel shift – Scott Hurwitz is leaving Brien McMahon High School to oversee data for the district.
Friday’s news release names:
- Fatima Susana-Tejada as NPS education administrator of specialized instruction. She’ll come to Norwalk from Greenwich Public Schools.
- Hannah Cohen as “supervisor of specialized instruction for related services,” a position related to services for students with special needs. She comes here from Trumbull Public Schools.
- Deborah Perry as education administrator for Scientifically Research Based Interventions (SRBI). She’s been department head of special education at Stamford High School.
- Luz V. Palmero as supervisor for multilingual learners and world languages. She’s done similar work in Danbury at Wooster School and at Whitby School in Greenwich.
“Scott Hurwitz will transition into a new role as education administrator of data analytics. In this role, Mr. Hurwitz will be responsible for providing data associated with federal and state requirements as well as school accreditation,” the news release said.
Hurwitz has been BMHS principal for four years. Assistant Principal Barbara Wood will serve as interim principal while a search is underway for the next BMHS principal, the news release said.
Hurwitz, Wood and Assistant Principal Qadir Abdus-Salaam were put on administrative leave without prejudice in April and while Wood was reinstated in May, Hurwitz and Abdus-Salaam were returned to duty June 16. Hearst Media learned allegations had been made against music teacher Frank Arcari, who resigned in May.
In his new role, Hurwitz will report to newly hired Deputy Superintendent of Excellence, Equity and Inclusion Thomas McBryde and be “responsible for a variety of duties associated with the acquisition, management, analysis and reporting of educational data for district departments and schools, including developing protocols to ensure data accuracy,” the release said. This is “data associated with federal and state requirements as well as school accreditation.”
Hurwitz was BMHS AP “from 2008-17, supervising academic departments, overseeing all aspects of school safety preparedness, and working with students, families and teacher to ensure successful progress towards graduation,” the release states. He “joined the school in 1996 as an English teacher, and also served as class adviser, newspaper adviser, freshmen baseball coach, yearbook adviser and NEASC accreditation chair.”
“His work has included collaborating with outside organizations in support of innovative programs, such as the CT Rise Network, which helps students succeed through data-driven innovations and improved systems,” the release states. “He also currently serves as a member of the Connecticut Accountability Advisory Group.”
As education administrator of specialized instruction, Susana-Tejada “will provide leadership to coordinate and supervise the effective delivery of special education and related services, working closely with the community, families, staff and district teams by leading teams in identifying all instructional and related services for students based on student needs,” the release states.
NPS Chief of Specialized Learning and Student Services Yvette Goorevitch retired this year, after Norwalk Superintendent of Schools Alexandra Estrella announced an intention to cut a Central Office chief position.
Susana-Tejada will “oversee the operation of special education for Norwalk Public School, in consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, and administrators in all matters relevant to the education of exceptional children. She will report to Rob Pennington, assistant superintendent of schools,” the release states.
She’s been with Greenwich schools for more than 12 years and has “deep experience across special education” in that district, “working with PPT teams in her tenure at multiple schools,” the release states. “Most recently, she served at Parkway School, where she worked to accelerate student learning to support students’ individual needs and abilities. Working with the school’s PPT team, she advised on providing and adjusting support for twice exceptional students. Her experience also includes work as a Kindergarten teacher, administrative intern and special projects manager.”
“She also serves as an educational consultant for Little Lola and Tots, which provides educational programming, parenting workshops and publishes books focused on cultural exposure and diversity,” according to the release. She also “served as IEP compliance coordinator for Stamford Public Schools, providing training and support to special education teachers and building administrators, supporting schools in monitoring and making instructional adjustments for students identified for special education, and instructing staff on IEP development, accommodations and modifications, and facilitating weekly PPT meetings. She started her education career as a dual language Kindergarten teacher at PS 75 in New York City.”
“Cohen’s role will assist in the supervision of related staff who provide services for students with special needs including occupational and physical therapies, speech and language, teachers of the hearing impaired, teachers of the visually impaired and adapted physical education,” the release states. “Mrs. Cohen will work cooperatively with other school administrators and authorize special education and pupil personnel services. This position is a part of the special education leadership team and reports to the education administrator of specialized instruction.”
She was the speech-language team leader and the speech-language pathologist responsible for the evaluation and treatment of students in kindergarten through 12th grade in Trumbull, according to the release. She also worked with community and private preschools to provide evaluations and treatments for students.
She’s had similar positions in Darien, New York and Arizona “with a focus on cognition, speech/language, motor, self-help/daily living, socialization, and the evaluation and implementation of Individualized Education Plans,” the release states.
“Mrs. Cohen began her career as a speech-language pathologist in the medical field having worked as a family care visiting nurse in Stratford where she was responsible for the evaluation and treatment of dysphagia, language, communication and cognitive impairments in pediatric and adult/geriatric patients in their home setting,” the release states. “She also did speech-language pathology work at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield and Maefair Healthcare Center in Trumbull.”
Scientifically Research Based Interventions (SRBI) are required for all districts by the State, and are a “comprehensive and systematic approach to assessing and instructing students, with an emphasis placed on students whose progress indicates a need for intervention to ensure continuous growth,” the release states.
Perry will implement the district’s SRBI plan and report to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Rob Pennington, the release states. Before leading the Special Education Department at Stamford High School, she “was assistant education director and special education teacher for the Devereux Glenholme School, an independent therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut.”
“Palmero will lead the development, organization, implementation and coordination of specific services and supports for multilingual learners and students studying world languages throughout the district. Ms. Palmero will also provide instructional leadership and support to school leaders, teachers and staff. She will report directly to the education administrator for curriculum and professional development,” the release states.
She’s got more than 19 years as a practiced Spanish teacher and experienced leader in curriculum development and planning and has worked to form and support goals and objectives for the world language program at P-TECH Norwalk, NPS states.
She was world language department coordinator in Danbury at Wooster School where she helped create the world language curriculum for students in grades 2-12 and as the Spanish department coordinator at Whitby School in Greenwich, she developed, communicated and monitored an action plan aligned to international baccalaureate standards and practices, according to NPS.