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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Schools: Greenwich ‘Jumped the Gun’ on Staples Principal Offer

By James Lomuscio

UPDATE: Published reports that Greenwich middle school principal Shelly Somers has accepted the offer as principal of Westport’s Staples High School are premature and Greenwich school officials have apologized, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon said today.

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Shelly Somers: middle school principal of year. Contributed photo

While confirming that Somers, principal of Greenwich’s Central Middle School, is the finalist after a six-month search, no offer has been made, officials stressed.

According to a statement issued by Landon, “Greenwich has apologized to me and the Westport community for its error.”

Landon’s statement, however, does not seem to diminish his enthusiasm about Somers as a finalist.

“Both Ms. Somers and I are excited about the possibility that she may join our staff,” Landon said. “She is an accomplished leader in Greenwich who enjoys the respect and appreciation of teachers, students, parents and her administrative colleagues. Most recently she was named Connecticut PTA Middle School Principal of the Year.”

Landon said a full day of meetings with staff and students on Tuesday “will culminate with an interview with the seven members of the Board of Education that evening.”

According to a Monday email letter to Staples parents, the decision will be made by the school board following parent input at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, May, 26 at 9 a.m. in the Staples cafeteria.

“Greenwich jumped the gun; no official offer has been made,” Lisa Marriott, spokeswoman for the Westport Public Schools, said earlier.

“She is the candidate, and everybody knows she is meeting with the parents on Tuesday,” she added. “This is totally premature by at least one week if an offer is to be made.”

According to Marriott, the mix up was due to the early release of a press announcement that should have been embargoed until after Tuesday should Somers get the job.

Tuesday night The Patch of Greenwich and GreenwichFreePress.com said Somers, who was named Connecticut middle school principal of the year this year, issued a statement expressing sadness at leaving Central Middle School where she has been principal for six years.

And Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William S. McKersie was quoted as saying: “We applaud Shelley Somers’ appointment as Principal of Staples High School.”

Somers, however, still has to pass the parent test at Tuesday’s meeting, school officials said. Written feedback from Staples parents will be solicited and provided to the Board of Education before a final decision is made, the administration noted.

The search committee for the replacement of Principal John Dodig, who is retiring after 11 years at the helm, consisted of teachers, parents, students and administrators.

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Posted 05/20/15 at 08:32 AM



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