Shelton school finance head to retire

Richard Belden, Shelton Public Schools finance director

Richard Belden, Shelton Public Schools finance director

Linda Conner Lambeck

SHELTON — A key figure in rebuilding the long-fractured relationship between the city and school board is saying goodbye.

School Finance Director Rick Belden, credited with bringing the school’s financial reporting in line with that of the city, has announced his retirement. Belden joins fellow administrators Special Education and Pupil Services Director Beth Smith and Athletic Director John Niski in retiring at the end of June.

“It is the right time for me at this stage of my career in Shelton,” Belden said. “I feel that I have assisted the administration and Board of Education in reestablishing a good working relationship with city officials and the various boards.”

Belden said his success could not have been possible without the assistance of school board Finance Assistant Cathy Araujo, the Board of Education Finance Department staff, city Finance Director Paul Hiller, Assistant Finance Director Lynn Piscitelli and the city finance staff.

"We have improved our financial reporting and provided the necessary accurate and timely financial information for informed decision making,” Belden said.

Board of Aldermen President John Anglace Jr. said Belden will be difficult to replace.

“Rick is a professional who came in and got the job done,” Anglace said. “His level of expertise and dedication will be hard to replace. He will be missed. He was open and honest and largely responsible for improving the relationship between the BOE and the city.”

Schools Superintendent Ken Saranich agreed, praising Belden for his accomplishments over the past three years.

“The Shelton Public Schools system is very appreciative of the service that Rick Belden has provided these past few years and wishes him the best in his retirement,” Saranich said.

Saranich said the district has begun seeking to fill the position.

Belden said he plans to remain active in the finance profession and will be taking on short-term project work and interim business manager assignments.

“There is a shortage of qualified and experienced school business managers and I can be as busy as I choose, but I do plan to work more on my golf game,” Belden added.

Belden left the finance director post for Seymour Public Schools to take the top school finance job in Shelton in January 2019.

Belden, a lifelong Shelton resident, retires with nearly 30 years of experience in education and municipal finance and operations management. He joins his wife, Bev Belden, in retirement. Bev was longtime principal at Elizabeth Shelton School and retired in 2020.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com