School board gives Shelton superintendent high marks

Shelton Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Saranich addresses the audience at Finn Stadium during graduation for the Class of 2021 on June 16, 2021.

Shelton Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Saranich addresses the audience at Finn Stadium during graduation for the Class of 2021 on June 16, 2021.

Jason Edwards / For Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — Superintendent Ken Saranich earned high marks in his first six months on the job, according to the Board of Education evaluation approved Wednesday.

Saranich earned a score of 3.5, on a scale of 0 to 4, and with it had his contract extended one year, board chair Kathy Yolish said. Saranich’s contract is now three years, and his salary for 2021-22 will be $205,000, including a $2,500 annuity. Saranich earned a salary of $179,875 in 2020, when he was assistant superintendent. He was promoted to the top spot in the city school system effective Jan. 1, 2021.

“Our superintendent has ‘made it happen,’” Yolish said about Saranich, adding that, using a baseball analogy, he “knocked it out of the park” in the initial interview process and “hit another home run on his evaluation.”

Board Vice Chair James Orazietti called Saranich “professional” in his handling of day-to-day operations and in his ability to bridge the gap between the school district and city officials — which has long been a contentious relationship.

“His efforts were key in recovery of the long overdue state reimbursable project dollars,” Orazietti said, adding that Saranich helped the city recoup some $4 million in funds from the state to cover various school building projects.

Yolish said the board took this assignment seriously and were very much in sync with their scoring, with many commendations and minimal recommendations.

The evaluation praises Saranich for his communication skills and ability to work with all stakeholders, including staff, students, parents and city officials. The former longtime Shelton Intermediate principal was also praised for remaining visible in the school community and working to improve relations between the city and school board.

Board members noted Saranich’s decision, upon taking the position, to restructure central office leadership. This saved money and positions while assigning key personnel in appropriate positions to succeed, they said.

Saranich said he was “humbled by the confidence and commitment that our board and the community have in me as the superintendent of schools.”

He called it a privilege to serve as superintendent of a school system where he also is a community member.

“I believe that the relationship that I have developed with the board members and community is one of open communication and trust in the best interest of our students,” he said.

Saranich said he is most proud of getting students back to in-person learning and focusing the work of the district toward educating students.

“I am also proud that we brought back our end-of-the-year events and celebrations, providing those important and necessary experiences for our students,” Saranich said. “I welcome the opportunity to continue to grow in the position of superintendent and work with the staff and community members to provide the best education we can for our students.”