East Lyme names interim assistant superintendent

East Lyme - The school system is not only welcoming students back to school on Wednesday, but also introducing this year a new interim assistant superintendent for special education and pupil personnel services.

The Board of Education unanimously voted Monday to have the board chairman sign a contract for Donna T. Gittleman to act as assistant superintendent from Aug. 18 to June 30, 2015.

Gittleman has served as the director of special services at Cromwell Public Schools for the past six years. Prior to Cromwell, she was the director of pupil services at Enfield Public Schools.

Gittleman will take over the position from Brian Reas, who departed the district this month to become superintendent of East Haddam Public Schools. Reas joined the district in 2010.

Superintendent of Schools James Lombardo spoke at Monday's school board meeting about the challenge the district had faced trying to find a qualified applicant who would be willing to work under a one-year contract. In addition, the school system had only a few months to fill the vacancy before school began.

"We knew that with the advent of a search for a new superintendent, it would be in the community's best interest to secure the service of somebody for one year only," said Lombardo. "I knew from the start that we had a difficult task in front of us of finding a qualified person who would be interested in doing this for one year."

"I always thought, I always believed that all you need is one, as long as it's the right one. I think we found the right one," Lombardo said, before formally introducing Gittleman.

The school board had interviewed Gittleman before its last meeting.

Gittleman, who began last week, said the people have been wonderful.

"Thank you for your vote of confidence," she told the board. "I appreciate it."

The school board will also search for a new superintendent this year, since Lombardo, who joined the district in 2009, has announced that he will retire in January.

The board will hold focus groups with parents, staff and residents during the search process. The New England School Development Council will act as the board's search firm.

k.drelich@theday.com

Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich

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