Education Westport schools chief announces resignation
WESTPORT — Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer announced her resignation from Westport Public Schools in a note to parents Thursday.
“The Westport Board of Education has been notified of Dr. Palmer’s intent to retire on August 1, 2019,” Board of Education Chair Mark Mathias wrote in the letter to families of Westport students.
“I wish to thank Dr. Palmer for her many contributions to the Westport Public Schools as Superintendent since 2016. Dr. Palmer has worked tirelessly on behalf of our students through a challenging time for our community,” Mathias wrote.
In an interview with Westport News following the announcement, Mathias said the BOE will form a search committee for the district’s next superintendent on Monday.
Palmer’s resignation comes only three years after she began as Westport’s schools superintendent and a week after James D’Amico, who has served as principal of Staples High School since 2016, announced he will be leaving to take a position as principal of New Fairfield High School.
Before joining Weston Public Schools in 2016, Palmer served as superintendent of Weston Public Schools for five years and prior to that worked as deputy director of the Capitol Regional Education Council.
In leaving Westport, Palmer concludes a 35-year career in the education sector in Connecticut, which included time as principal of Simsbury High School, Hamden High School and Nonnewaug High School.
Palmer was named Superintendent of the Year by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents in 2016, but has had a difficult tenure in Westport.
For the past two years, Palmer sparred with town’s Board of Finance over the education budget, and this year faced significant criticism from parents who said Palmer poorly handled the closing of Coleytown Middle School due to issues with mold.
Palmer’s predecessor as Westport superintendent, Elliott Landon, served 17 years in the position. When asked by local news blogger Dan Woog in 2016 how long she planned to be on the job in Westport, Palmer responded, “I have no exit plan in mind. I look forward to a long tenure here.”
The BOE will likely name an interim superintendent, though none has been secured at this point, Mathias said.
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