The Newtown Board of Education unanimously voted to name Joseph Erardi, Jr, as the school district's new superintendent during a special meeting held on Friday, January 17.
According to a press release from the school board, read by BOE Vice Chair Laura Roche during the meeting, it is anticipated that Dr Erardi will begin his new position as early as the spring.
Dr Erardi has been the superintendent in Southington for the past eight years, according to the release, and has served as a superintendent in three districts, including Southington, for 14 years.
Board members expressed gratitude to Dr Erardi for accepting the position during the meeting.
School board member John Vouros said he is thrilled to have Dr Erardi join the Newtown Public School District team, and BOE member Keith Alexander said the school board has heard so many positive things about Dr Erardi that the board could spend two to three hours just sharing those reports.
School board Secretary Kathy Hamilton said she has been excited about the prospect of Dr Erardi becoming the superintendent in Newtown since she first met him.
BOE Chair Debbie Leidlein thanked Ms Roche for leading the process to search for a new superintendent, and thanked Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed, who she said has guided the school district since he returned in May 2013 to act as interim superintendent following the resignation of Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson. Ms Roche in turn thanked Connecticut Association of Boards of Education's (CABE) Jacqueline Jacoby and her team for helping with the search for a superintendent. (A report on the search was presented to the school board in November.)
"Our board has gone through some emotional decisions," said Ms Leidlein.
Ms Leidlein also said she has the same feeling now about Dr Erardi coming to Newtown that she had when Dr Reed returned in 2013. She said she feels it is the right fit for Newtown.
Dr Erardi spoke briefly to the school board following the decision.
"I sit here very thankful and very humble," said Dr Erardi.
Dr Erardi said he, "loves every day of my work," and no other district in the country could have enticed him other than Newtown.
When serving as the superintendent Dr Erardi said he will be respectful of Newtown's past, will work hard in the present, and he is excited for the future of Newtown.
Friday's decision to select Dr Erardi came after months of conducting a superintendent search, which included community surveys and focus group meetings. It also followed a site visit to Southington on January 10 by Board of Education members.
"Please join us in welcoming Dr Joseph Erardi as the new superintendent of Newtown Public Schools," reads the school board's press release. "The final details of his transition are being worked out; we anticipate that he will join use officially in the spring. The Newtown Board of Education will hold a reception in the near future, so that staff, parents, and the community can meet and welcome him."
A number of local officials, members of other town boards, and community and school district members were present for the meeting to meet Dr Erardi following the school board’s decision.
Further details from the meeting will be available in the January 24 edition of The Newtown Bee.