New superintendent of schools appointed in Hamden

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HAMDEN, CT – Gary Highsmith was named the new Superintendent of Hamden Schools at a special meeting of the Board of Education on Monday.

The appointment takes effect on September 1.

Highsmith has a long history with Hamden Public Schools and most recently served as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Administration. Prior to joining the Central Office staff in July 2015, he was Principal of Hamden Secondary School for nine years.

Highsmith came to Hamden after 16 years in the New Haven Public Schools District, the first five years in the Social Development Department, followed by five years as a social studies teacher, then two as vice-principal at the East Rock Magnet School, and the past four years. Principal of LW Beecher Elementary School.

Highsmith will succeed Jody Ian Goeler, Superintendent of Hamden for eight years, who retired in January and remained on an “acting” basis.

Highsmith was selected after the board received the views of nearly 300 students, staff and members of the Hamden community through interviews, focus groups and a survey, according to a statement. Press.

The leadership profile that “resulted from a synthesis of these perspectives guided the board in its interview process, from developing questions to reviewing and analyzing the appropriate fit” , says the press release.

“We are inspired by the new ideas Gary will bring to Hamden’s key challenges,” said board chair Melissa Kaplan. “He thought long and hard about our issues and listened carefully to the concerns of various Hamden stakeholders. In all of his answers to our questions, from teaching and learning to equity to academic rigor and finances, Gary showed his wisdom, compassion, insight and vision. The Board is delighted to have found a transformational leader who also understands Hamden’s needs. »

Kaplan noted that in this decision, the board felt that Highsmith was an “exceptional choice for Hamden because he embodies the hopes and aspirations shared by the school community”.

Highsmith plans to be a highly visible leader and regular presence in Hamden’s schools and community, establishing ‘satellite offices’ where he will come into regular contact with students and staff.

He wants “to be close to teaching and learning so that decisions are grounded in an appreciation of this most important core of our school system.”

He wrote: ‘I am confident that my…dedication to the District, my desire to learn, my work ethic, my professional experiences and my love for children combine to make me a strong candidate to continue to lead. equity and child centered curriculum. centered work that we have already begun.

Highsmith earned her bachelor’s and master’s of arts degrees in American history and a sixth-grade degree in educational leadership, all from Southern Connecticut State University.

The Hamden Board was supported in the research by consultants from the Connecticut Boards of Education Research Services Association.

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