Op-Ed: Saranich says it's an 'honor and privilege' to serve as Shelton schools superintendent

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

Newly promoted 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

It is a great honor and privilege for me to send this New Year’s message to you as your new superintendent of schools. Working together as a community, we will enhance our school system by focusing on our students’ growth through innovative practices and challenging educational opportunities.

The beginning of my superintendency will provide us an opportunity to take a look at where Shelton has been, where it currently stands, and where it needs to be. I will accomplish this work by gathering information in a systematic way, holding focus group meetings with all key stakeholders, and then presenting and discussing my findings to everyone. My immediate and long-term goals for the district are:

* Design practices that keep students’ growth and well-being the primary focus and meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students in an effort to ensure college and career readiness and to close achievement gaps.

* Build trusting relationships with students, staff, and the community to ensure high performance and to support the district by being accessible, approachable, and present in the schools and community.

* Establish and promote a highly-effective and cohesive district governance that maintains accountability by communicating and collaborating effectively in the schools and community.

* Maintain a school culture that reflects a positive district environment centered on a shared vision of excellence and innovative instruction.

* Maintain integrity through open, honest and trustworthy communication and positive relationships.

* Working as a community, we will commit ourselves to bring passion and innovation into our comprehensive educational experience with high academic standards for all students. Together, we will utilize our Vision of a Graduate and our learning environment focused on respect, responsibility, and safety to develop responsible citizens for an ever-changing global society.

In an effort to reach our goals, I am happy to announce that effective Jan. 1, Carole Pannozzo will serve as the district’s chief of staff for the next 18 months. Carole has thorough knowledge of school district operations. Beginning her impressive career as a teacher, she has spent the last 24 years in school human resources, which includes intensive work in personnel, contract negotiations, budgeting and labor law. In her role as chief of staff, Carole will oversee all operational aspects of our school district and manage day-to-day affairs of the district in my absence. As a longtime Shelton resident, Carole truly knows the meaning of our Shelton community.

I am looking forward to great things in 2021. Happy New Year.