Interim superintendent to step in to lead Windsor schools Oct. 30

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Wed., Oct. 16, 2013
Dr. Craig Cooke, presently the assistant superintendent of human resources, will be stepping into the role of superintendent. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

With the impending departure of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeffrey A. Villar, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Craig Cooke will be stepping in to fill in the role. Villar is leaving to become the executive director of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform. The organization with which Villar will work assists educators throughout the state of Connecticut to close achievement gaps and to educate and raise awareness regarding the need for change in public schools.

The CCER announced the hiring of Villar on Sept. 10.

Cooke plans to carry on the focus that the district has laid out in a few important areas. “The district has an incredible focus right now on instructional strategies Pre-K to 12th grade,” said Cooke. He says the district is updating the curriculum, bringing it in line with the national Common Core, and that the town is also focusing on making sure there is a “positive atmosphere in our school buildings.”

“The reason I am so excited to take over is that I will be able to ensure that there isn’t a change in direction,” said Cooke.

Replacing Cooke in his role as assistant superintendent of human resources, for two months, will be Scott McDonald.  In the new year, though, a familiar face will return to the role full-time: Mark Winzler, who held that position in Windsor from 2001 to 2007.

Cooke said he is extremely pleased about Winzler’s hiring. “I won’t have to worry about what’s going on,” he said.

When the official changeover takes place, Cooke said his top priority will be getting out to meet the parents. He plans to hold parent meetings in November.

Villar was quoted on the CCER press release as saying, “I want to thank the Windsor Board of Education and the community of Windsor for having given me the honor of serving as the superintendent of schools. I have enjoyed working with so many passionate parents, students and dedicated educators. I wish the community great success in the future.”

Villar will leave the district on Oct. 29, and Cooke will assume his duties as interim superintendent of schools on Oct. 30.

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