New superintendent adjusts to position

August 22, 2014

By Lindsay Carey
Staff Writer
New Superintendent of Schools

Timothy Connellan

Timothy Connellan

is transitioning to Southington with a busy first week on the job.
“It’s a much larger school district,” said Connellan, who was the former superintendent for Oxford Public Schools. “There are lots of things to do every single day, that’s probably the biggest difference.”
Assistant Superintendent Karen Smith said that his previous positions in the school districts of Bethany and Oxford are beneficial experiences that make him prepared for the Southington School system.
Connellan said he has already begun working with the assistant superintendent on student enrollment, as well as filling vacant positions. He said one of their big concerns is filling key positions like Director of Pupil Personnel and the Director of Technology positions.
“Tim is immersed into prep for opening days,” said Smith. “He has established himself as a leader in the school system.
Although, a position of superintendent is not new for Connellan, the move has come with its share of challenges.
“The transition quite honestly has been a little more difficult than I had anticipated,” said Connellan at the Board of Education meeting.
On top of enrollment and hiring, Connellan said he is familiarizing himself with the building projects at the middle schools, which are expected to be done just in time for school to start. While the project is wrapping up, Connellan said he’s helping to coordinate an information session for parents of middle school students regarding the project.
“You don’t walk in the door as a superintendent and get a pass on anything,” said Connellan. “You’re involved in decision making from day one. So I’m very busy, but in a positive way.”
Along with the decision making responsibilities that come with the job, Connellan is trying to get to know people in town on a more personal level.
During his first week, Connellan met with administrators, members of the board of education as well as some elected town officials. He also gave his first report during the Board of Education meeting on August 14.
“All of our central office folks are being scheduled to come in and talk with me a little informally and sometimes that consists of who are, who your family is where you live,” said the new superintendent, during the meeting. “Those are the connections we’re trying to make,” said Connellan.
According to Smith, administrators had a workshop and are attending Camp Sloper for a retreat to strengthen team building. Administrators went hiking, conducted science activities and team building activities and enjoyed an outdoor barbecue.
“This has been a team transition with support from the Board of Education and the entire administrative team,” said Smith, about helping Connellan settle into his position.
Connellan said he has received a warm welcome from the assistant superintendent, board of education, teachers and staff.
Rather than making changes, Connellan said he hopes to continue the work that has been done before him. He said he thinks it will take a year of going through the cycle, before he can begin to know what to expect. In the meantime, he said he also hopes to connect with others to find out their thoughts on the system.
“I’m continuing to support the initiatives that are in place with the eye of always trying to improve the services we have for students and families,” said Connellan.

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