New principal, IT director start in Killingly

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Mon., Aug. 12, 2013

Killingly Superintendent Kevin Farr has been a busy man this summer. He announced the hiring of Frederick Silva as the new high school principal on Aug. 9. Four days earlier Anthony Tomah, the new Director of Technology started his position. This week it's back to the interview board as he begins the search for a new assistant superintendent.

“I don't know where the summer went,” Farr said. “It's been wild.”

Farr said he needed to hit a home run with his selection of a principal to replace Andy Rockett. The Board of Education gave unanimous approval to Silva's selection at an executive meeting on Aug. 8. Silva brings 15 years of experience as a high school principal in the Rhode Island school system. He was an assistant principal for 10 years. Prior to that he was a social studies teacher. Silva has completed graduate work at Boston College in curriculum, instruction and administration.  He was slated to start work immediately.

Tomah began gearing up for the school year on Aug. 5. He has a B.A. in elementary education, a M.S. in information technology, and 10 years experience in schools in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. His primary focus will be the implementation of the one-to-one iPad program at the high school and the professional development dealing with the use of technology in the classroom. “That's one of the strengths he brings to the district,” Farr said.

With the new teacher evaluation programs coming to all Connecticut schools, Farr has been making sure his administrators got their training in over the summer. Orientations were provided to teachers at the end of the last academic school year, but there will be further building level training said Farr. “Anthony is working with developing a district-wide technology professional development program for this year.”

The state has provided software at no charge so Killingly administrators can manage the system.  Hartford has intimated there will be money provided for professional development, but Farr has taken a “wait and see” attitude. “I'm always skeptical about promises from Hartford,” he said. The district may use some of their alliance funding to cover professional development costs.

Farr plans to use the new evaluation procedures on all staff members this year. “We think that sends a message that it's important,” he said. “It's going to be a monumental task. It'll be a process. Do I think it's going to be 100-percent of what we want? Probably not,” he said. “But it's something that needs to happen. It's been a long time coming and I support it 100-percent. By the time a couple of years pass, we'll get into the groove and use it for what it was intended, which is to help teachers be better at what they do. You can't look at it as a punitive thing. You have to look at it as something that will help teachers grow and learn the craft of teaching.”

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