To The Editor:
Newtown, we have a remarkable new school superintendent! For the eight years he was Southington's superintendent of schools, I was honored to work closely with Joseph Erardi, Jr. In my 43 years as a high school English/Language Arts teacher, I encountered scores of administrators. Sadly, some followed the Peter Principles' rise to be competent with adults but disenfranchised around students.
So, when I read The Bee's article on Dr. Erardi's arrival in my hometown and his anticipation about seeing the students, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. I taught in the Southington alternative education site with students who were spewed out of the traditional high school for a variety of reasons. In some systems, these students might be forgotten, branded, or ignored. But, in Southington, with Joe's unswerving support, humaneness, and fairness, my students received the same opportunities as those kids at the traditional high school. He was open to a vibrant curriculum that addressed the specific academic needs of the attendees and embraced extracurricular endeavors that enriched the students' lives. As busy as he was, he attended many of our functions, and the students thought of him as a friend. In most cases, it was the first time they trusted and respected an administrator.
Although my daughter is long gone from the Newtown School System where she received a wonderful education, I can assure the town that we have a remarkable educator at the helm. Newtown parents, our town's school system is now enriched with an exceptional superintendent and a true gentleman. Our children deserve his vast wisdom, expertise, and altruism.
Anita R. Holtz
131 Toddy Hill Road, Sandy Hook April 18, 2014