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Dr Lorrie Rodrigue began her time as interim superintendent of Newtown Public Schools this week, following the retirement of former Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr.
After accepting Dr Erardi’s resignation at its meeting on July 18, the Board of Education unanimously appointed Dr Rodrigue to be the district’s interim superintendent, effective August 1 to June 30 of next year or until a superintendent of schools is selected. Dr Erardi’s resignation was effective July 31. Dr Rodrigue has been the principal at Newtown High School since 2014.
With Dr Rodrigue’s appointment as interim superintendent, the Board of Education held a special meeting on August 2 to interview a candidate to serve as interim NHS principal during an executive session.
Following the executive session, according to Board of Education Chair Keith Alexander, the board voted unanimously to appoint NHS Assistant Principal David Roach to the position. Mr Alexander, school board Vice Chair Michelle Embree Ku, and board members Debbie Leidlein and John Vouros were present for the special meeting.
On her second day in her new office on August 2, Dr Rodrigue said serving as the interim superintendent of schools “feels right.” From her work as NHS principal, Dr Rodrigue said she knows “the players” in the district. As she drove home after working on August 1, Dr Rodrigue said that she had experienced a certain level of comfort from knowing and working with the community.
Reflecting on her background of working on curriculum and instruction, Dr Rodrigue said she sees that those strengths could be “really valuable at this time.”
Dr Rodrigue said that during Dr Erardi’s time as superintendent, he unified the district, and had arrived at a time when he was truly needed. Dr Rodrigue said she is in his debt for mentoring her. She added that Dr Erardi’s sense of what needed to be done now helps her, and it would have helped anyone who was chosen as the interim superintendent.
She is thrilled at the opportunity to serve as interim superintendent.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get the work done,” said Dr Rodrigue, adding that she will “give it my all.”
Some of Dr Rodrigue’s plans while serving as interim superintendent include assessing to find any improvements that can be made.
Being appointed as interim superintendent, Dr Rodrigue said, is less stressful with the knowledge that the “best administrative team” she has ever worked with is in place at NHS. She said she knows the new innovations and practices that have been put in place at the school in recent years will continue.
Dr Rodrigue also added that she believes in supporting emerging leaders.
The Interim Principal
The morning after he was appointed at NHS interim principal, Mr Roach said he is excited for the opportunity and he is indebted to the town of Newtown for giving him the opportunity to serve as assistant principal.
Mr Roach was unanimously hired by the school board to fill one of the three assistant principal positions at NHS in July of 2014. Mr Roach had been working as a high school social studies teacher for Regional School District 15 at Pomperaug High School since 2001, and he served as the school’s head football coach since 2011. He had also been working as an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport since 2009.
Offering his congratulations to Dr Erardi and his hopes that the former superintendent enjoys retirement, Mr Roach added his further congratulations to Dr Rodrigue for being named interim superintendent.
“I was more than happy to step up and take the interim tag until a solution,” Mr Roach said.
With his position of assistant principal at NHS now open, Mr Roach said the school board will be looking within the district to fill that position with an interim assistant principal.
Mr Roach said he will be focusing on working with the administrative team at NHS to prepare for teachers to return, honing and setting policies and procedures for the new school year, and “getting ready for the first day of school.
“It’s here before you know it,” he said.