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RIDGEFIELD Schools get interim chief

June 12, 2018 GMT

RIDGEFIELD — The Board of Education announced Monday that former New Milford Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote will take over as interim superintendent while members search for a new permanent schools leader.

Robert Miller, the district’s director of technology and operations, had been serving as acting superintendent since the board announced it would negotiate a resignation agreement with Superintendent Karen Baldwin. He was approved by the state to serve until June 30.

Baldwin had been placed on leave following accusations she plagiarized documents, but ultimately announced she would leave the district June 30.

Board members said Monday that Paddyfote will take over July 1 and serve until March 1, or until the district finds a permanent replacement. Chair Fran Walton said Paddyfote became the clear choice after the board, acting as a search committee, interviewed several candidates for the position.

“She has a breadth of experience that the board felt would be extremely useful to the Ridgefield public schools over the next few months,” Walton said.

Paddyfote most recently served as an interim superintendent in Avon, after retiring from her nearly 14-year tenure as New Milford’s head of schools.

Her experience in both positions aligned well with what Ridgefield expects to tackle over the next few months, the district said in a release. Paddyfote worked with Avon’s superintendent search consultant and helped the district transition to the new leader.

Ridgefield’s board, acting as a search committee, is reviewing proposals from firms to begin its search for the permanent superintendent. It will hold focus groups in early September and hopes to have a replacement chosen by the first half of next school year.

In New Milford, Paddyfote addressed declining enrollment, special education services and other initiatives. She developed and presented a budget during her time in Avon and also led collective bargaining agreements, which Ridgefield will take on in the next few months.

”The district has a lot on its plate it is moving forward with and we didn’t want that to stop,” said board member Doug Silver. “We had a lot of confidence coming out of the interview process that that was going to be able to happen (with Paddyfote).”