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Search is on for a new Region 1 superintendent

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FALLS VILLAGE – After four years in the role of superintendent of Region 1 schools, Lisa Carter is retiring in June to spend more time with her family and live life at a reduced pace. She announced her decision last October and the region launched a search process for her replacement.

Consultant Mary Broderick presented the Region 1 Leadership Profile to the All Boards Chairs (ABC) Committee Feb. 13 regarding survey results and input from focus groups about what the district wants in a new superintendent. Lisa Carter is retiring in June. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Carter has a long history in Region 1, joining in 2002 as a social studies teacher at Housatonic Valley Regional High School. She says she loved her work there with students. In 2011 she decided to expand her skill set and became principal of Salisbury Central School for four years, leaving to become the assistant superintendent of the region. In this role, she focused on curriculum and instructor support. 

“I’ve always been interested in curriculum and instruction development,” Carter said during an interview Monday. She became superintendent in 2020. “I’ve loved my entire time here.” 

She pointed to the relationships she developed over the years as a highlight of working in Region 1. A Norfolk resident, she said she stayed in the region for so long because she was constantly learning something new.

Carter leaves June 30 and will start a new job as director of professional services at EdAdvance in Litchfield, allowing her back to again work on various aspects related to curriculum, legislation and professional development.

The region hired Mary Broderick, a consultant with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) Search Services, to guide the search for a new superintendent. The All Boards Chairs (ABC) Committee has formed a search committee and will soon begin reviewing applications, which are due by March 1.

During a special meeting of the Committee Feb. 13, Broderick presented the superintendent leadership profile, which includes results of a survey and eight focus groups that were conducted last month to gauge how members of the Region 1 community view the role of superintendent. She explained that 119 people participated and gave feedback. Of those, 42 attended focus groups and 103 responded to the survey, which was anonymous.

A few committee members said they were disappointed by the low numbers, but Chairman David Valcin of Salisbury said that he was pleased by the input.

“I’m not shocked by the numbers,” he said. “People are busy.”

The document provides a look at what constituents in the region, including parents, students, teachers, administrators and community members, feel about their schools and the superintendent.

Broderick said community and collaboration were two topics that were mentioned frequently. 

“…participants felt that Region 1 thrives on a deeply rooted sense of community unity and active involvement. Residents and educators expressed a deep interconnectedness, emphasizing the importance of supporting one another in various aspects of life, from the schools to the volunteer fire departments,” the profile states. Broderick said that a “family dynamic” and “caring culture” in the schools was important to many. 

Collaboration was cited as both a positive aspect and a challenge in the region. “The struggle to balance distinct personalities and communities, coupled with challenges in fostering collaboration, was a recurring theme.”

The organizational structure of Region 1, with seven schools, one regional board of education and six local boards for each school, was cited as an ongoing challenge. The committee lobbied for replacing the word “unwieldy” to describe the regional structure.

“The governance burden on the Region 1 superintendent is far more complex than that in other districts in Connecticut,” Broderick wrote in the profile.

Overall, the committee members felt the results reflected the region well. Jenn Duncan of Kent complimented Broderick on her work. “This is a tremendous amount of work and it is great to pull it all together,” she said.

Lynn Worthington
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