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Stonington superintendent gets straight A's

Stonington — It was all A’s for Superintendent of Schools Van Riley in the Board of Education’s annual evaluation of Riley, who is now in his second year here.

“Dr. Riley has excellent leadership skills, is a visionary and forward-thinker. These traits have benefited Stonington Public Schools and the entire community,” wrote the board in its evaluation.

Despite the high marks, Riley will not receive a raise in 2014-15. Riley and the board agreed he would forgo a raise because of a decrease in the proposed school budget that resulted in program cuts. His salary will remain at $175,379.

“The primary reason behind the no raise is the difficult budget cycle we just went through,” said school board Chairman Frank Todisco, adding that a 2.5 percent, or $4,400, raise could “be used to benefit children.”

Riley will receive an additional five vacation days, bringing his total to 30. His contract was also extended one year, so he maintains a three-year deal.

“He’s doing a great job. We’re very pleased with the things he’s been able to accomplish over the last two school years,” Todisco said after the board completed the evaluation Thursday night.

The board evaluated Riley based on whether he meets a list of goals in four areas: Educational Leadership, Organizational Management, Community and Board of Education Relations, and Personal and Professional Qualities and Relationships.

It then wrote a commentary on how he performed in each area. The board commended Riley for the implementation of full-day kindergarten with only a minimal additional cost to the district and the creation of a long-range facilities plan.

It said his restructuring of the budget allowed for a centralization of financial resources, which enabled the system to provide instructional tools such as a new reading program, an updated math curriculum and additional funding for technology. The board said he has also “been able to address challenging personnel issues in a professional and effective manner.”

The board said Riley has also made a conscious effort “to have a regular presence in the community.”

It said he has worked to establish relationships and partnerships with community and business leaders and groups. In addition, it said he has dedicated a significant amount of time to pursuing the reconstitution of the K-12 School Building Committee, which will come up with a plan to renovate and expand the town’s elementary schools.

The board set two goals for Riley in 2014-15: continuing to work on communication and his visibility in the schools during ordinary school days.


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