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Hartford charter school principal named Norwich assistant superintendent

Norwich — A 20-year veteran teacher and administrator with awards in math teaching and experience with the state’s Alliance District system was named Monday as the new Norwich Public Schools assistant superintendent/curriculum director beginning July 1.

The announcement came as school officials are in the process of eliminating 43 full-time support-level positions and 25 part-time temporary positions in the wake of cuts to the school board's requested budget.

Tamara Gloster of East Hartford has been principal of the Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory Middle School in Hartford for two years and is Mathematics University supervisor in the NEAG School of Education at the University of Connecticut. Gloster has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in curriculum, assessment and instruction and a sixth-year certificate in advanced educational leadership.

“Tamara’s expertise is in K-8 mathematics, instructional coaching, curriculum design, instructional leadership, minority educator recruitment, implementation of equity planning and closing achievement gaps,” Norwich Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow said in a news release issued Tuesday announcing the appointment.

Gloster is a member of the Greater New England Alliance of Black School Educators.

The grant-funded assistant superintendent/curriculum director position has been vacant since December, when former Assistant Superintendent Thomas Baird left to become Hebron superintendent. Two retired part-time educators have been handling the duties, paid through the same grant, Stringfellow said.

Gloster will have a salary of $150,000 through grants, Stringfellow said.

Stringfellow on Tuesday said there was always a plan to fill the position after Baird’s departure in December. She did not advertise immediately, because she did not expect to get a solid pool of candidates in mid-year. Gloster was one of 49 applicants and was selected through a process that included a selection committee of 11 teachers, administrators and board members. School board Chairwoman Heather Romanski and members Patricia Staley and Mark Kulos served on the committee.

Stringfellow called the position “critical to areas of school and district culture, teaching and learning, student achievement, professional development, grants management, climate and attendance work and a host of other areas within the school department.”

Mayor Peter Nystrom, a frequent critic of school spending, questioned filling the administrative position when the district is losing classroom staffing. “In times like this, when we’re reading comments about concerns for classroom positions, I don’t know how this makes any sense,” he said.

Gloster could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

According to her biography on the Jumoke Academy website, Gloster was a middle school math teacher for six years in East Hartford. She served as a mathematics methods instructor for three years and was a mathematics specialist and staff developer at the Capital Region Education Council for four years. She provided professional development to Alliance Districts — which includes Norwich — as the assistant director of teaching and learning of CREC for two years. Alliance Districts were created by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to provide additional grants to struggling school districts to fund state-approved student improvement plans.

Shiela Hayes, president of the Norwich branch of the NAACP and prior education chairman for the branch, said she didn’t know Gloster, but visited the Jumoke Academy several times years ago to discuss the magnet school’s success in closing the achievement gap for Hartford students and to observe classes.

“Based on the qualifications, she appears to be highly qualified to be the assistant superintendent/curriculum director,” Hayes said. “I am, of course, very encouraged that they chose a person with her qualifications and that she happens to be a female of color. I welcome her like anybody else they’ve hired in administration of Norwich schools and look forward to meeting her and getting where we can work together to address student achievement and student outcomes.”

c.bessette@theday.com

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