Input sought in principal search

·3 min read

Feb. 15—COLUMBIA — School officials are seeking input from community members as the district searches for a new Horace W. Porter School principal.

Input sessions will be held this month by Mary Broderick, who works as a search consultant for the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, in collaboration with the principal search committee.

" We'll develop the profile for the person we're hoping to have come join us," Columbia Superintendent of Schools Maria Geryk said during the Feb. 3 board of education meeting.

Parents, students, administrators and other school staff are invited to participate in focus groups being held via Zoom from Feb. 16- 18.

Each session is being held for a specific group of individuals.

The schedule is as follows:

—Administrators on Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 11 a. m.

—Non-certified and support staff on Feb. 16 at 3 p. m.

—Teachers on Feb. 16 at 4 p. m. and Thursday, Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

—Board of education on Tuesday, Feb, 16 at 6 p. m.

—Parents on Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 18 at 11 a. m.

—Town elected officials/ staff on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 6 p. m.

—Community residents on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

Columbia Board of Education Chairman Chris Lent said he felt the school board was very happy with the approach to the search, noting Broderick is "wonderful."

"That's who we worked with for the superintendent search a few years ago," he said.

Geryk said the goal is to have a new principal in place by July 1 at the latest.

The job has been posted and applications are due by March 12.

"This is a great window to hire right now for principals," Geryk said. "This is kind of the ideal time to post a position."

Former principal Alyssa Gwinnell resigned to focus on her doctoral degree studies at Northcentral University, an online college, and become a fifth- grade teacher in Putnam.

Gwinnell began working as an assistant principal/ data coordinator at Porter, the only school in the Columbia school district, in 2012 and became principal at the school in 2013.

Her last day at work was Jan. 14, but she was paid through Jan. 18.

Geryk said she, Porter Assistant Principal Karen Caputo and Director of Student Services Barbara Wilson have taken on additional responsibilities, though Caputo was named the interim principal.

Caputo and Wilson began their new responsibilities on Jan. 19. Geryk said Caputo will receive a monthly, $ 4,000 stipend for the additional responsibilities and Wilson will receive a monthly, $ 2,000 stipend until a new principal starts.

In addition to the focus groups, community members are encouraged to participate in the process via an anonymous survey, with responses due by Feb. 19.

The survey is available at https:// surveymonkey. com/ r/ HoracePorterPrincipal.

Those who are interested in attending a Zoom session are asked to email Broderick at to request a Zoom invitation.

Follow Michelle Warren on Twitter-@ mwarrentc.

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