| by Janie Rosman |
Tarrytown Union Free School District Superintendent Dr. Christopher Clouet was one of the finalists for the commissioner of the State Department of Education position in Connecticut.
However, last month Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy selected former public schools teacher Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell to the post. Wentzell has more than 25 years’ experience as an educator and was the department’s Interim Commissioner since January.
Preferred qualifications included a minimum of 10 years in a high-level educational leadership role, and an advanced degree in education. Reportedly, Clouet was seriously in the running for the prestigious job, the New Haven Register reported January 6, 2015.
“Right now he (Clouet) and the Board are focused on the budget and getting it passed,” TUFSD Board of Education President Mimi Godwin commented after The Hudson Independent informed her about Malloy’s decision.
Repeated attempts to reach Clouet, who joined Tarrytown on July 1, 2013 following the retirement of longtime superintendent of schools Dr. Howard Smith, about his near departure were unsuccessful.
The search committee requested applications by February 4 so it could interview candidates and forward nominations to Malloy, as the desired start date was March 2015.
Connecticut State Department of Education Director of Communications and Community Partnerships Kelly Donnelly would not reveal the number of applicants for the $192,500-salary position.
“Our district never had this experience where a superintendent goes to a higher position,” Godwin noted.
Clouet told the Board of Education last year he was looking at another position, Godwin said, after which the New Haven Register called her during Christmas vacation for comment.
The process for choosing an interim State Commissioner of Education began in early December 2014. Voting members of the State Board of Education become a personnel search committee to find then-outgoing Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor’s replacement. He stepped down January 7, 2015.
Applicants chosen by the personnel selection committee are exempted from disclosure or Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. If the Board accepts the committee recommendation, the candidate’s name is sent to the governor for consideration for appointment, which must be confirmed by either the State Senate or the State House of Representatives.
The committee sent its recommendation to the State Board of Education at a public meeting on April 17. The candidate’s name was then sent to Malloy for appointment and further legislative approval.
The Tarrytown Board of Education unanimously hired Clouet on February 14, 2013; however, his first day with the district was July 1. Godwin praised the superintendent for giving his full attention to the district and noted New York State was looking for an education commissioner.