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Interim Superintendent Plans Drastic Reshuffling of High School, Middle School Administrators

The plan would totally change the administrative makeup of Manchester High School, Illing Middle School and Bennet Academy.

A proposal unveiled by Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel during Monday night's Board of Education meeting would bring sweeping changes to the administration at Arthur H. Illing Middle School and . The move comes in conjunction with plan to restructure the administrative staff at proposed earlier this month by new Manchester High School Principal Matthew Geary. 

Kisiel said the changes are intended to refocus administrative responsibilities at the town's sixth-grade academy, middle school and high school squarely on teaching and learning. 

"These assignments of personnel are in response to needed improvements in teaching and learning, improvements in school climate and culture and vaccines created by administrative retirements and resignations," Kisiel said. 

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Under the reconfiguration plan, Illing would see an entirely new leadership staff, with becoming the new principal at Illing; Ann Fuini, an assistant principal at Bennet Academy, will accompany Welch to become an assistant principal at Illing; and Keith Martin, now an assistant principal at Manchester High School, will become an assistant principal at Illing. 

Current Illing Principal will be transferred to the central office, where he will become the Associate Director of Teaching and Learning; Illing Assistant Principal Cathy Robinson will become an assistant principal at Bennet Academy; and Illing Assistant Principal Iris Gomero will be moved to Manchester High School, where she will take on the role of an assistant principal. 

The current associate director of teaching and learning, Diane Sheehan-Burns, will become the new principal at Highland Park Elementary School when it reopens in the fall, replacing Kathleen England, who is resigning to accept an assistant superintendent position in another district. 

The restructuring still leaves five vacant administrative positions within the Manchester Public Schools system: principal of Keeney Street School, principal of Bennet Academy, an assistant principal at Manchester High, the newly created position of dean of students at Manchester High and an assistant principal position at Washington Elementary School. 

"Essentially when you look at the administrative structure in grades 6 through 12, it's entirely changed," Kisiel said. "I think at this point for Manchester Public Schools this would be an important step forward for bringing new, revitalized energy to our schools." 

In other actions Monday, the Board of Education unanimously voted to end Kisiel's contract an additional 90 days to allow it more time to find a permanent replacement. 

"Under state law, we are required to have a Superintendent past July 1," Pattacini said. "This is a procedural decision by the board." 

The school board also unanimously voted to amend its bylaws and approve a code of conduct for board members that outlines unacceptable behavior and the potential consequences for school board members. The code of conduct is largely the result of the actions of , a Republican member of the school board, who caused controversy earlier this year when she sent a series of unwanted emails and Facebook messages to Kelly Luxenberg, a Democratic member of the school board. When the Board of Education reviewed its policies earlier this year to see if it was possible to discipline or censure Kidd, they were that no such disciplinary provisions for Board of Education members existed under the school board's current bylaws. 

The Board of Education, including Kidd, unanimously approved the code of conduct without any comments or debate. 

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Cathy Robinson was to be moved to the position of assistant principal at Manchester High School. 

topher June 27, 2012 at 12:42 AM
lets send mike simmond from verplank to bennet.He was awesome at illing remember. what a trio of principal s the town would have to boost scores!!!!!1
Greg June 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM
Kate England is a huge loss she will be missed.
David McHugh June 27, 2012 at 02:03 PM
It's long overdue. In Dr. Kisiel's short stay here he has been able to sift through the wreckage and still be a presence in the schools and at after hour school functions, unlike his predecessor. Thank you Dr. Kisiel
Kristine Blake June 30, 2012 at 03:37 PM
We were forced to leave Manchester School system (2004) because they got rid of all the gifted and talented programs when our son was done at Bowers. He went onto Hartford Middle Magnet school, and then to the UNIVERSITY HIGH MAGNET of SCIENCE & ENGINEERING.(100% graduation rate and 100% go onto college) He going to be a senior this year in this ALL HONORS high school, on the campus of University of Hartford. Why are MARTIN & HIGHLAND park the ONLY "HOT SCHOOLS", in Manchester? Not fair to give everything to the richest areas of town and then have a whole class share (2) computers. Sorry but this was discussed recently at the Capitol with Geoff Luxumberg....he knows the smartest kids are leaving Manchester, because their is no challenge. Our son is taking UCONN English and took AP biology as a sophomore. Bowers wanted to put him on STRATERA because he "talked to much". He finish his work so fast because he was not being challenged. Now that he is @ the UNIVERSITY HIGH MAGNET, we are contacted by phone, email and regular mail, from colleges who want him to apply. W.P.I., N.Y.U., B.C., to name a few. Manchester needs to step up and get this fixed. We are not the only family that left.
Daune June 30, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Jodi, As sorry as I feel for Bennett to lose such a wonderful principal I am also just as elated to hear that manchester students will have him for more than a year which in the long run when students get him in 7th & 8th grade they will be very lucky to have him for more that 1 year!!! If this whole thing is true my son just ran around the house knowing he would get Mr Welch again!!!! He starts 8th grade in the fall!!!

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