AP NEWS

Ralph Mayo to lead Greenwich High School

March 29, 2019

GREENWICH — Interim Superintendent Ralph Mayo announced he will be the interim headmaster of Greenwich High School in the 2019-20 school year.

“It feels like coming home,” Mayo said during the Board of Education meeting Thursday evening at Julian Curtiss School.

A lifelong resident of town and a GHS graduate, Mayo became a teacher’s aide there in 1976 and an English teacher in 1980. He has been an administrator in the town’s schools for 26 years, including posts as the program administrator for special education and as Clark housemaster at Greenwich High.

He presided over Eastern Middle School as principal for 14 years before stepping up as interim superintendent last summer after Jill Gildea unexpectedly announced her departure just one year into her three-year contract.

Incoming superintendent Toni Jones can conduct a search for a permanent GHS headmaster for the 2020-21 school year, Mayo said.

Jones, who is currently superintendent with the Fairfield Public Schools, will join the Greenwich school district on July 1. Mayo will step into his role as headmaster also on July 1.

Many in the community were upset after Jones was named the new superintendent in January. Some residents took to social media to express their disappointment in the decision, their frustration with the board and their solidarity with Mayo, who they had supported for the job. The town teachers’ union also announced it would have preferred Mayo. Even First Selectman Peter Tesei said that as a parent, he called on the school board to reconsider its choice.

By February, Mayo thanked the community for its support, but said he respected the board’s decision and was moving on. He advised his supporters to do the same.

A widespread search for a new leader of Greenwich High School began in December, and the district screened a strong pool of candidates when the application period closed in January, Mayo said.

After the interview process, however, the district was unable to identify a candidate who was the right fit for GHS, he said.

Interim headmaster Rick Piotrzkowski has decided to return to his preferred role of assistant headmaster. He became interim headmaster after Chris Winters announced last July that he was leaving the district to take on the new post as head of the Upper School at Greenwich Country Day School. The private school is adding the high school grades this fall as it completes a merger with the Stanwich School.

“I want to thank Mr. Piotrzkowski for his leadership this year and I look forward to working closely with him again next year,” Mayo said in a statement released after the announcement during the meeting. “He is one of true stars of our school district.”

It would have been simple to return to Eastern, his home for 14 years, Mayo said, but he believes it is time for new leadership to take that great middle school to the next level.

The district will initiate the search for the permanent principal immediately.

This story will be updated.

jo.kroeker@hearstmediact.com