Shelton superintendent earns top marks from school board

Superintendent of Schools Ken Saranich poses in front of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Saranich poses in front of the Board of Education offices in Shelton, Conn. Nov. 5, 2020.

Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

SHELTON — School Superintendent Ken Saranich received a glowing review and has another year added to his contract to show for it.

The Board of Education, at its meeting Wednesday, approved the review and contract extension for Saranich, who assumed the superintendent job in January 2021. His contract now runs through the 2024-25 school year.

“I want to thank this board for their support and faith in me,” Saranich said during the board meeting. “It is an honor and a privilege to continue to serve as superintendent of schools. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

Saranich’s contract calls for salaries of $198,600 for the present 2021-22 school year, $204,626 in 2022-23, and $206,875 in both 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

“In order to have trust, transparency is essential. This is where Superintendent Saranich shines in his evaluation,” Board of Education Chair Kathy Yolish said.

“He knows that every board member and staff member has a stake in the school system, and everyone deserves to buy into what is asked or required,” Yolish said. “A school system with a high degree of trust is three times more likely to yield positive outcomes as well. The superintendent’s midyear evaluation clearly showed his degree of professionalism, transparency, communication, and a shared vision for the school system.”

Yolish noted that board members also commended Saranich for building a relationship with city officials and Mayor Mark Lauretti, something that has been missing with previous superintendents.

“This resulted in the board adding an additional year to his contract,” Yolish said. “The board realizes that every time leadership changes, plans change and things do not move forward. Stability is key for staff, students, parents, and community.”

Yolish said educational law does not require adding a year to a superintendent’s existing contract, but it strongly recommends it, “especially if you have one that you want to keep.

“We are very happy with the overall performance of our superintendent and look forward to witnessing even more growth in student achievement and additional strides in professional learning and curriculum-building,” Yolish said.

In the review, the board found Saranich met all performance indicators. He was found to have developed a “successful budget process, which demonstrated a conservative financial agenda that is balanced with the needs of the students in mind,” according to the board.

The board also praised his reorganization of the district’s central office and his effective communication skills, whether it is with staff, the school community, the Board of Education, or city officials.

The board also approved the contract for Chief of Staff Carole Pannozzo for the 2022-23 school year. Her salary stands at $181,089.