BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — The new superintendent shouldn’t be a stranger in the city’s schools, said students on Bristol Eastern High School’s governance council.
Assistant superintendent Ann Clark will take over July 1 when Superintendent Edward Maher retires.
During the school board’s lengthy selection process, the governance councils of both high schools were asked what they wanted in a new superintendent.
The governance councils are each made up of four student representatives, one from each grade; parents representing each grade level, the department heads of each subject, administrators, and a community representative.
They create school rules and help evaluate programs such as Education 2000.
Selection committee members said students’ ideas generating from the governance council would be taken into consideration in choosing the next schools chief.
At Eastern’s final governance council meeting of the school year, the council discussed what they wanted to see in the new superintendent.
The students said they want to be heard by the superintendent as well as by the school board.
Junior Caroline Paluf, secretary of the council, said she wants “someone that listens to students.”
Sophomore representative Jessica Zarrella said she hopes Clark will “hear and take in consideration [what students say].”
All the student representatives want Clark, as Paluf said, to “know what’s going on in schools, to [actually] set foot in schools.”
The adults want Clark to help Bristol do well educationally.
Eastern’s principal, V. Everett Lyons, said he hopes Clark will “continue the initiative to make Bristol an education leader.”
A parent of a senior and a sophomore, Jim Hurczyn, wants Clark to “raise standards — to consider the school system in the same breath with Farmington, Avon, and Simsbury.”
Dave Scannel, parent of a freshman and junior, wants Bristol to “coordinate with other towns.”
The teacher representatives wanted more specific things from Clark.
Vocational studies teacher Mike Rogers wants the technology in the tech wing improved and increased as well as the whole school overall.
English teacher Art Groth wants “increased support for the ESL (English as a second language) program.”
Community representative Tony Mattioli would like to have Clark “continue the effort to have non college preparation programs, technical training, and manufacture training, and to work with businesses for that.”
The faculty as well as the students want to be heard by Clark and the school board.
Pottery teacher Betty Angell said she wants “someone who really listens to faculty and what our experiences and needs are.”
Assistant principal Daniel Viens, who is not a member of the council but sat in on the discussion, said he hopes Clark will “support and believe in kids.”
Only time will tell if Clark and the board takes the students’ desires to heart — and actually show up in the classrooms.
Hila Yosafi, a Reporter for Youth Journalism International, serves as the freshman representative to Bristol Eastern High School’s governance council.