Yesterday, a mere nine days after the start of the school year, it was announced that Hartford —one of the state’s most troubled districts — will lose its Superintendent.
Hartford, like Bridgeport, has been plagued by a revolving door of school leaders. According to the Hartford Courant, the city has gone through nearly a dozen superintendents over the past 25 years.
Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, who still has two years on her four-year contract, is relocating to Okinawa, Japan, for a job offer leading schools managed by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“I wish this opportunity had come a little later,” she told the Courant, who said that her decision was purely personal. “But it’s such a unique opportunity that I couldn’t say no.”
Though there were reports that she put her house on the market a few weeks ago, the Courant reported that many in the community were shocked by her resignation, believing that she would be sticking around for a while. This reaction is understandable, considering the timing.
Right now, the district is in the middle of working on “Equity 2020,” an advisory committee of which Narvaez is a member. The committee launched in April to devise a plan on how best to consolidate the district’s often under-enrolled schools. Hartford public schools are also grappling with the newly mediated terms of the Sheff v. O’Neill agreement, which made changes to the 1996 decision in the landmark desegregation case, as well as the repercussions of the recent CCJEF v. Rell decision that was handed down on Wednesday morning.
While I certainly can’t blame Narvaez for her personal career choices, the destabilizing effect this could have on Hartford’s 21,000 students is troubling at best — especially at the start of a new school year amidst all the challenges ahead.
Here’s an excerpt from Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin’s statement on Narvaez’s departure:
“Over the past two years, Superintendent Schiavino-Narvaez has dedicated herself to serving Hartford’s students and strengthening Hartford’s schools, and I wish her well in her new role. The coming months and years present important opportunities and challenges for the Hartford school system, as new leaders will have the chance to fight for reforms in the wake of yesterday’s historic court decision, shape the next phase of the longstanding Sheff vs. O’Neil lawsuit, manage the Equity 2020 process and school consolidation, and increase our focus on quality neighborhood and community schools. I am confident that the Board of Education will move quickly to name an interim superintendent and ensure a smooth transition, and I will be working closely with the Board of Education during that process.”
For more on this the Hartford Courant has a great rundown: here’s a link to the full story
To comment on this and other stories, please check out the Education Bridgeport! Facebook