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Board of Ed. Names Ernest Perlini Interim Superintendent

The former head of Newington schools is the unanimous choice.

The Board of Education voted 7-0 Wednesday evening to hire Ernest Perlini as interim superintendent, filling the vacancy to be left by departing schools chief Elizabeth Feser.

Perlini served as superintendent of schools in Newington for 16 years before his retirement in 2009. His hiring is contingent upon contract negotiations and passing a background check, but he is expected to start work on March 21. Feser, who has held the top education post in Windsor since 2002, accepted an offer last month to become superintendent in Milford, and will start work there on April 4.

“He (Perlini) has proven himself,” said board member Cristina Santos, during extended discussion of the hiring. “He has a track record. He’s been through 16 budget cycles.”

Board Chairman Milo “Rusty” Peck said after the meeting that Windsor is “extremely fortunate” to be getting an interim superintendent of Perlini’s caliber and experience. “It’s difficult to find someone to fill a job like this on an interim basis,” Peck said.

Tied to the vote was a provision that Perlini, for his presumed year as interim superintendent, will not be compensated more than Feser would have been. The superintendent’s salary is currently $183,000 annually plus benefits, according to Craig Cooke, director of human resources for the school system. Perlini’s contract situation is complicated somewhat by his 2009 retirement as an educator; there are legal restrictions on how he can be compensated. The board’s lawyers, Shipman & Goodwin, are expected to negotiate two contracts, one for the period of March 21—June 30 and another for the remainder of a year of employment.

Board members expressed some concern about the responsibilities and focus of an “interim” superintendent, due in part to the rush to replace Feser. “We as a board haven’t discussed what we want from an interim and eventually a permanent superintendent,” said  Lucille Browne.

“If we as a board do not articulate our expectations, I see problems down the road,” said  board Secretary Doreen Richardson. The board tentatively agreed to schedule meetings to discuss and settle priorities for Perlini. The interim superintendent, board members indicated, could perhaps not be expected to entirely fill his predecessor’s shoes.

 “We’ve been a little spoiled,” said Paul Panos, board minority leader, speaking about Feser. “She was highly visible and a part of the community. She went above and beyond the call.”

 Perlini, 64, was not present at the meeting, held at the board offices at L.P. Wilson, and could not be reached for comment at home by telephone later in the evening. He worked in the Newington school system for 40 years as a teacher; assistant principal and principal at Martin Kellogg School; principal of Newington High School; and assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent from 1993-2009. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Parsons College, a master’s degree from the University of Hartford, and a doctorate from Nova University, according to Newington town records.

 Peck noted Perlini’s experience in overseeing “something similar” in Newington to the anticipated reorganization of Windsor elementary schools, considered by all as a major challenge to the interim superintendent and whoever will ultimately be selected as the next permanent head of the school system. “There were candidates who did not want to take that on,” said Peck.

Though the board stayed focused on Perlini’s qualifications and the logistics of hiring him, members couldn’t help but look ahead to the challenge of finding his successor. Though the hiring has been rushed, the prevailing sentiment was to get Perlini on board and move ahead.

“I’m more concerned about moving forward,” said Howard Jubrey. “Sorry for the lack of a better word, but he’s a temp.”

tchjjal March 03, 2011 at 02:05 PM
$183,000 a year??? No wonder our state is broke and Wisconsin is trying to break up the Unions collective bargaining rights. We need a governor like Scott Walker. Go Wisconsin!!!
Malvi Lennon March 05, 2011 at 03:33 AM
and in addition to the 183K plus benefits this guy is getting a full pension plus benefits. Double dipping its the best racket going.
Malvi Lennon March 07, 2011 at 04:37 PM
In the Windsor School District 60.6% of children attending Sage Park Middle School meet state goals, but that number drops to 37.8% @ Windsor High School http://www.conncan.org/learn/reportcards . Why is there a 22.8 % performance drop? Remember that most of the kids @ Windsor High were the students of Sage Park. What is different? Teacher? Leadership? Block Schedule? Dr. Feser is leaving and a new interim super is coming to Town. Some BOE members appear happy that Perlini has a record of accomplishment and he has been through 16 budget cycles. However, giving Windsor's academic situation what is Parlini’s record of accomplishment when it comes to boosting teacher’s performance and making sure children learn? Frankly, I am much more concerned about academic results achieved than budgetary experience. Let’s face it the bulk of the budget goes to teacher compensation and benefits, only a small percentage is actually spent in the classroom.
kekmdk@hotmail.com March 09, 2011 at 09:19 PM
I think that that people are leaving Windsor. Here is a petition going around. People will vote by leaving or taking kids out of windsor public schools. 1. The purported reason for elementary school consolidation, projected declining enrollment into the future, is not supported by the facts. The Strategic Planning Study found that PK-5 enrollment is projected to remain steady at about 1500 children through 2019-20. See page 3 of the study. 2. The amount of time that the children will spend on buses was not a consideration in the determination of attendance borders. The greater the time that children spend on a bus, the greater the chances that bullying, accidents and injuries will occur. Also, when children are stuck on the bus in rush hour traffic, they are wasting time that could be better spent learning. Time spent on the bus could have been easily analyzed using GIS technology in the same way that school utilization, ethnicity, and free-or-reduced lunch status was used. 3. A transportation study has not been conducted. It is not known how many additional busses will be required, how many additional miles will be driven, how much additional fuel will be used, the number of bus monitors that will be required, etc. A transportation study must be conducted prior to implementing a plan of this magnitude. continues to 8 points.
Malvi Lennon March 10, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Waterbury the fifth largest city in Connecticut is looking for a fulltime superintendent of schools. Waterbury schools serve 18,400 students in 28 schools Base Pay $150,000 - $200,000 /Year. On the other hand, the Windsor School District serves about 4000 students in 7 schools. An “interim” (temporary) superintendent was just hired @ $183K a year. Note: The official compensation may be split between salary, bonuses, consultant fees, etc.

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