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New Haven teachers lay out vision for next superintendent of schools

The New Haven Federation of Teachers led a rally Monday evening, joined by parents and students voicing their expectations for the district's future leader

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — New Haven is looking for the next person to lead its school district. 

Teachers, parents and students are speaking up about what they think that person should do.

"Collaboration, understanding that we want someone who’s going to see the ways in which we’re all working together and we need one another to work together and that’s going to come and do the work with us," said Steve Staysniak a New Haven Public Schools teacher.

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The current superintendent Dr. Iline Tracey is set to retire at the end of this school year. 

At a rally Monday afternoon, the New Haven Federation of Teachers laid out its vision for the next superintendent of schools. 

It includes empowering teachers, implementing a diverse curriculum, and addressing one of the biggest challenges facing the school district, a staffing shortage. 

"It means that we’re all spread a little bit thin in a job that’s already demanding," Staysniak said.

"It adds to the ongoing concerns about burnout, depletion, and demoralization. We want our teachers to feel supported so that they stay this year into next year," said Leslie Blatteau, president of the New Haven Federation of Teachers.

Mayor Justin Elicker said he shares many of the same concerns. 

"We’ve got to make sure that our kids have the basic core skills around literacy and math. We’ve got to address our teacher shortage right now that we and many cities around the nation are dealing with right now," Elicker said.

The firm McPherson & Jacobson, L.L.C., Executive Recruitment and Development has been hired to help with the search for a new superintendent and it will be hosting public meetings this week with the hope of hearing everyone’s voices. 

"The most important thing for us as a city is to make sure that we have a strong leader in our district. Our kids deserve the best leaders and we’re committed to finding that person," Elicker said.

That means in addition to teachers, students are encouraged to get involved. 

"As a student we should have a voice in this decision," said Allison Escobar, a New Haven Public Schools student. "Learn about the reality that we live in our school in the community as students we are part of the solution we want to be heard," she said.

Parents are also encouraged to advocate for their children. 

"Say to them this is what my child needs. This is what my school needs. We need more before school, after school care, we need more field trips, we need more activities that are going to help students with attendance," Blatteau said.

The public meetings will be held Wednesday, February 15th from 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. and Thursday, February 16th from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium of Barack Obama Magnet University School at 69 Farnum Ln. On Friday, February 17th a meeting will be held from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. at the Parish House adjacent to Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School at 150 Kimberly Ave.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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