WOODBURY – Superintendent of Schools Joseph A. Olzacki emailed a letter to Region 14 parents and guardians on June 3 to “confirm rumors on some changes in the administration of Region 14.”
In the letter, Olzacki announced that two of the region’s four principals, the arts instructional leader, and the science/math instructional leader have all tended resignations this spring. In addition, the director of Region 14’s VoAG program announced his retirement.
“As we close this school 2018-19 school year and begin preparing for the 2019-20 school year, I look forward to more successes, more champions, more re-established friendships, and a continued vision that will use our increasing skills and our new curriculum to promote cooperation, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking in the successful preparation of our children for the future,” Olzacki wrote in the letter.
Olzacki’s letter came three days after he was quoted in a Republican-American article that addressed three of the resignations.
On May 20, Mitchell Elementary School principal Jodie Roden sent a letter to parents and guardians to announce her resignation. Later that day, Roden was formally approved by the Seymour Board of Education as the new principal of Seymour Middle School.
On May 29, Julie Luby announced she was resigning as principal of Nonnewaug High School. Luby will be formally introduced as the assistant superintendent of New Fairfield Public Schools on June 6.
Earlier this spring, Dr. Thomas Nobili tendered his resignation as the district’s science/math instructional leader. He recently began a new job with Milford Public Schools as a K-5 STEM instructional leader. Amy Perras, the district’s arts instructional leader, also tendered her resignation earlier in the spring.
In the fall, Region 14 received resignations from its director of special services and its board certified behavioral analyst.
Bill Davenport, who has been with Region 14 for 33 years, is retiring as the director of the Vocational Agriculture program at Nonnewaug High School. Davenport will take a post-retirement job as University of Connecticut’s 4H program.
“A true friend to all and committed to every aspect of past, present and future generations,” Olzacki wrote in the letter. “I will personally miss him.”
Olzacki added that Davenport will remain a big part of the FFA program.
Olzacki added that he and the VoAG instructors will present a new leadership plan at the June 17 Board of Education meeting.
Mitchell’s Revolving Door
At the June 3 Board of Education meeting, one parent of a Mitchell Elementary School student let it be known that she is not happy with the “revolving door” there.
Tracey Blackman, whose daughter is a fourth-grader at Mitchell, told the board that the changes in the special education department have affected her daughter’s ability to learn.
“There has been dramatic disruption in the past year and a half,” Blackman said. “While many of the typical kids have not been affected by the mass exodus, they have affected my daughter.”
Blackman told the board that three special education teachers have left Mitchell since the beginning of this school year. Her daughter’s case manager, she said, has also been changed several times.
What’s more, the school’s shared music teacher, who was hired prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year, was gone before Thanksgiving, meaning Blackman’s daughter – and other Mitchell and Bethlehem Elementary School students – missed six weeks of chorus.
“There is a level of Toxicity in the region,” Blackman said. “I recently bought a home in Woodbury, only to discover this revolving door. Was buying a home in this district a mistake?”