Smith, Skerritt assume new district roles

Shelton High Headmaster Beth Smith presents at a education conference in Shanghai in April 2018

Shelton High Headmaster Beth Smith presents at a education conference in Shanghai in April 2018


Beth Smith’s sometimes rocky tenure as Shelton High principal came to an official end Monday.

School officials last week announced that Kathy Riddle, lifetime Shelton resident and 27-year veteran of the district, would assume the principal job on an interim basis for the coming school year, beginning Monday, July 22. The search for two new assistant principals is also underway.

Smith and Assistant Principal John Skerritt were placed on administrative leave last March. Shelton police began investigating the pair after officers were called to the high school in response to an alleged sexual assault involving two students.

Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira said at the time that the department attempted to determine whether school personnel adhered to Connecticut General Statutes when dealing with potentially criminal situations.

That six-week investigation was closed earlier in May, with no criminal charges filed. The recently released police report on the investigation stated that Shelton police had sought a warrant for the arrest of both administrators for risk of injury to a minor and interfering with police, but State’s Attorney Margaret E. Kelley declined to prosecute.

Smith has since been reassigned to the district’s central office, where she will serve as special education supervisor. Smith has a background in special education, in the past serving as the department chair for special education. Skerritt has been assigned as assistant principal at Shelton Intermediate School for the new school year.

School Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet said that the district’s internal investigation into the actions of Smith and Skerritt is continuing, with hopes that it could wrap up later this week. Whatever the district’s findings, Clouet said the plans are for both to remain in their new roles with the district.

For Smith, this brings an end to what at times was a tumultuous tenure at Shelton High School.

In 2011, student James Tate attracted worldwide attention — which helped overturn a decision by Smith to bar him from attending the prom after taping foot-high letters on the outside of the high school, asking a girlfriend to go with him.

In 2015, six teenage Shelton girls had to alter or replace their prom gowns after school officials deemed the outfits too revealing.

In 2016, the parents of a Shelton High student killed in a car crash prevailed on the Board of Education to issue a posthumous diploma for their son.

Two years ago, after petitions were circulated by seniors Justin Hafele and Tiana Boccuzzi, Clouet canceled plans to hold graduation ceremonies at Ansonia’s Nolan Field because of ongoing turf field renovations at Shelton High’s Finn Field.