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New Norwich assistant superintendent hopes to meet people in person someday

Norwich — New Assistant Superintendent Tamara Gloster is eager to meet parents, students, teachers and colleagues, but in these COVID-19 days, she’s been relegated to waving at faces on a computer screen.

Gloster, 46, of East Hartford was named as the grant-funded assistant superintendent/curriculum director June 22 by Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow. Gloster started working remotely July 1, then came to the Norwich school central office a few times a week, and now is at the 90 Town St. office full time.

But most meetings remain online or by teleconference. She has participated in video town hall sessions with parents to introduce herself and join in the discussion on reopening schools in late August.

“I was enamored at how Dr. Stringfellow put all her energy into all the town halls,” Gloster said Friday. “I loved seeing everyone’s beautiful families and meeting everyone and I was glad I was there, just to be able to lay eyes on the families. I wish it was safe for me to go out and meet our families. I want to go to events in the community to let people know I am part of the community. I have a passion for children and want to make sure people know I’m here for them.”

A 20-year veteran teacher and administrator, Gloster grew up in the Hartford area, graduated from Weaver High School in Hartford and returned to Connecticut after graduating from the College of New Rochelle in New York. She 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.

She came to Norwich after having served as principal of the Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory Middle School, a Hartford charter school, for two years. She also is mathematics university supervisor in the NEAG School of Education at the University of Connecticut.

Prior to that, she was a middle school math teacher for six years in East Hartford and then 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, created by former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to provide additional grants to struggling school districts to improve student performance. Norwich is an Alliance District.

Gloster said when she was at CREC, she yearned to return to a position that worked with students directly. And after a while as principal, she started thinking about how she could reach and help more students and schools. She saw the Norwich position and became excited about it.

In addition to curriculum and working with Stringfellow on district policies, Gloster will be the district’s grant writer and will work on improving equity access to education for all students and diversifying the district workforce, now about 3% minority employment. Gloster is a member of the Greater New England Alliance of Black School Educators.

“I think I feel like this is a year of learning,” Gloster said. “I’m in a new place. I need to see the culture, look at the data and see where are some areas we can develop and grow.”

As for curriculum, Gloster said she always has tried to make math fun and hopes to instill that philosophy for language arts as well.

“I love mathematics,” she said. “As children age, they tend to push away from mathematics. Children used to say to me: ‘I don’t like math. You make it fun, but I wanted you to know, I still don’t like math.’”

c.bessette@theday.com

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