The effort to identify a successor to retiring Litchfield Superintendent of Schools Deborah S. Wheeler will begin on April 30 when the Board of Education begins discussing potential options.
The board, as it has done in the past, could hire an interim superintendent to manage the school system while a search for a permanent superintendent takes place. An interim superintendent could come from within the school system or from outside. Wheeler's retirement takes effect July1.
A potential in-house candidate could be high school Principal Kristen Della Volpe, who is certified to be a superintendent. That idea is being contested by parents who believe Della Volpe doesn't deserve to be interim superintendent following her arrest on a drunk driving charge in January.
Posted on the Litchfield parents Facebook page is the following message:
"Placing her as the superintendent of our school would be placing the bar so low that it is unbearable to think of. What example does it set to our children and our community when bad behavior is rewarded with a promotion? It seems that the BOE is intent on ruining any dignity left in our school; the fact she was reinstated as principal was shocking. To move her to superintendent is absolutely unacceptable!!"
The message went on to encourage parents to push the school board to consider multiple options.
Two parents, Stacy Morgan and Carol Lamond, attended last week's meeting of the school board's personnel committee to urge the committee not to consider the idea of hiring Della Volpe on an interim basis.
"The rumor is the board is going to move the high school principal into the superintendent's job, which would cause a lot of divisiveness in the community," Morgan said. "We need candidates with extensive experience and proven records as superintendents."
Lamond said she received no support from Della Volpe on issues related to Lamond's daughter. It reached a point, Lamond said, where she removed her daughter from the high school and enrolled her at the private Forman School. Della Volpe, Lamond said, lacks the sensitivity a superintendent, and even an interim superintendent, needs to have to do the job well.
Another parent, Maureen Dobos, expressed her feelings about Della Volpe in a letter to BZ.
"Appointing her as interim superintendent would be a disgrace," Dobos wrote. "What kind of an example does that set for our children? She has endured very little in the way of consequences for her actions. Our school administrators should be held to a higher standard, and should hold themselves to a higher standard as well. Rather than facing consequences and losing her job, she is going to be promoted? We should not reward her bad behavior and poor judgment. She holds our children responsible for their actions in and out of school, she should be held responsible for her actions as well. Otherwise, it is total hypocrisy."