Groton school board names McKenna as interim superintendent

Editor's note: This corrects the title of the assistant superintendent.

Groton - Sean McKenna, a former high school English teacher and curently the assistant for curriculum and instruction, will take over as interim superintendent on July 1.

The Board of Education decided recently to have McKenna assume the role after Interim Superintendent John Ramos' contract ends June 30, until a permanent superintendent is found. McKenna was hired last summer as an interim assistant superintendent and formerly worked as vice principal at Robert E. Fitch High School and as an English teacher there. He was appointed assistant superintendent last August.

"I'm very humbled and honored by the board's decision to allow me to do this," McKenna said of the post.

As interim superintendent, McKenna said he'll focus on preparing for the next school year, which will be different due to redistricting, moving forward with a summer program to encourage reading and preparing for new state-mandated teacher evaluations. Under the new evaluation plan, tenured teachers in Groton would receive three classroom observations and nontenured teachers would receive four classroom observations.

Board member Rita Volkmann said McKenna has gained the trust of staff.

"He just has a real expertise in curriculum, and he has a very nice way with the staff because he is so knowledgeable," she said. "So people respect him in the district."

Board member Beverly Washington said a new employment contract outlining McKenna's additional duties has not yet been written.

Meanwhile, the board is moving forward with plans to find a permanent replacement for former Superintendent Paul Kadri, who was dismissed March 5 after an arbitrator found he engaged in conduct warranting termination of his employment.

Board members will meet at 5 p.m. today in the school administrative office with the search firm McPherson & Jacobson LLC to discuss the search process, timetable and how to best involve the community.

Washington said the school board has not quite recovered from the turmoil of Kadri's firing, and she hopes McKenna will bring it together.

"The board is not a cohesive unit," Washington said, adding, "The board hasn't gone through the healing process after Paul Kadri."

Said McKenna: "My hope is that we have a new school year ahead of us. We have a lot of positive energy in the district with our kids and our teachers. I believe that the board will tap into that and we'll start new."

d.straszheim@theday.com

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