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Montville schools superintendent resigns

Montville — Superintendent Brian Levesque, who faced a charge of failing to report classroom fighting before a judge dismissed the case Tuesday, voluntarily resigned this week, Levesque and the Board of Education announced in a joint statement Wednesday morning.

The Board of Education and Levesque said they entered an agreement Monday, the same night the school board and town Finance Committee members met in a special executive session to discuss an "agreement ... pertaining to the superintendent's employment contract."

The statement did not provide any details on the agreement. The Day on Wednesday filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for any agreement between the school board and Levesque.

School officials previously said Levesque was in the second year of a three-year contract with an annual salary of $178,231.

Board of Education Chairman Bob Mitchell declined to comment on the agreement beyond saying, "We came to a resolution to buy out (Levesque's) contract."

A message left with Levesque's labor attorney, Brian Doyle, was not immediately returned.

"The Montville Board of Education thanks Mr. Levesque for his service as superintendent since Sept. 1, 2013," the statement said.

Along with high school Principal Jeffrey Theodoss and Assistant Principal Tatiana Patten, Levesque was charged with failure to report suspected abuse as a mandated reporter following the April arrest of former substitute teacher Ryan Fish, who state police accused of supervising multiple slapboxing bouts in his class last fall.

Laurie Pallin has served as acting superintendent of schools since April, when the district placed Levesque on paid leave.

"The Montville Board of Education will move forward to identify a process for conducting a search for a new Superintendent of Schools," the statement said.

Mitchell said there's no statute requiring a full search for a new superintendent; the board simply could appoint Pallin to the top district spot.

"It depends on the will of the board. We'll be addressing that soon," Mitchell said. He added that staff who've filled in for or replaced administrators in the district "have done an outstanding job, better than the board could have hoped for ... under a very difficult situation."

On Tuesday, Norwich Superior Court Judge Nuala Droney agreed to dismiss the charge against Levesque after noting she received letters of support for the superintendent and that he'd completed mandated reporter training in September.

Prosecutors did not object to the dismissal. Levesque and his attorney, Christian Sarantopoulos, declined to comment.

Levesque, who said he knew of only one incident, fired Fish a few days after receiving emails containing cellphone videos of one of the fights and confirming with school officials that it occurred in Fish's class.

The incidents sparked Department of Children and Families and State's Attorney's office investigations last winter, with state police saying all three administrators should have alerted authorities of the fighting.

Police learned about the incidents in December, when a DCF social worker told them a 15-year-old student had reported being assaulted by three students during school.

Droney previously agreed to dismiss the charge against Theodoss, who retired earlier this year. Patten is due back in court Monday, Oct. 29, and her attorney, Dado Coric, recently said the case soon would come to a resolution.

Droney on Tuesday accepted Fish's application for the state's accelerated rehabilitation program, during which Fish must complete 40 hours of community service and undergo counseling.


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