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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Superintendent Kevin Walston resigns; understanding the past, present, and future of Danbury Public Schools

Superintendent+Kevin+Walston+resigns%3B+understanding+the+past%2C+present%2C+and+future+of+Danbury+Public+Schools

The Past

From Sal to Walston, Walston to the unknown, the process of changing superintendents in Danbury has always been quite predictable—for many, unchanging for 15 years. Nobody would have thought that after 15 years of the same superintendent, the new one would last no more than three.

“The search takes up quite a bit of time,” Dr. Kara Casmiro, Danbury’s interim superintendent, commented on the matter, detailing the process of replacing a superintendent and her plans for the future as the temporary replacement for Kevin Walston.

According to Casmiro, despite the extenuating circumstances, the process of hiring a permanent replacement for Kevin Walston would “not necessarily” differ from the past. She explained how, just as they had in response to previous resignations, “the board gets to decide how they want to enact that process.”

That process refers to the same one used in 2021 to appoint Kevin Walston as the permanent superintendent. According to a News Times article written by Michael Gagne detailing the past process of finding a replacement for the then-superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella, “the school board contracted with Ray & Associates to assist with its search for a school district leader.”

Gagne explained how this time three years ago, Dr. Sal had “announced his plans to retire that June,” and following a search for replacement, “the board voted to promote Walston from assistant superintendent to superintendent.”

Contrary to Dr. Sal’s resignation, in this case there wasn’t much time to prepare. As stated by Casmiro, “[the board] needed to appoint somebody immediately” to take over the role of acting superintendent, as “the Board cannot be left” without one. 

In contrast, rather than locating a temporary year-long replacement for Dr. Sal, the search ending in the appointment of Kevin Walston was held immediately after Dr. Sal’s announcement of resignation up until around the spring time frame when the final, permanent decision was made.

 

The Present

As of right now, however, Casimiro is left to be the one “maintaining the ship that has set sail.” Moving from her previous role as Assistant Superintendent to Interim Superintendent, Casmiro explained how she has to “pick up from where the previous Superintendent left off.” 

Her role now, in her words, involves a lot less sleep and much more interaction with the community. Casimiro is currently “working with different departments in the city, working with community members of different organizations, working with the mayor and his office, and working with the board members on a regular basis.”

Casmiro emphasized her attention on the Career Academies, which she referred to as “Danbury High Schools campus on the West side.” She explained the importance of these Career Academies, stating that “People want to come see Danbury which is awesome,” and as a result, there is a need for more space in the one public high school.

Another current issue at Danbury Public Schools that is necessary to be dealt with is the budget. Walston proposed a $179.8 million budget, an $29.8 million increase from the previous year. This is due to the expiration of COVID-19-related relief funds from the government as well as the ever-growing population of the Danbury Public Schools (NewsTimes). Although proposed, the budget is yet to be approved by the City of Danbury.

With that being said, Casmiro detailed her role with the budget, drawing attention to “every superintendent’s focus,” which is to “make sure that budget gets passed.” To get that accomplished, Casmiro has both “a lot of energy and meetings with the board” in order to ensure that “the plans that have been set forth for this year are fulfilled.”

 

And The Future

Thus arises the question of what is to become of the Danbury Public Schools. While Dr. Casimiro “holds down the ship,” the Board of Education starts a search for the next superintendent. Reminiscent of the process conducted when Dr. Pascarella retired, the search includes a committee dedicated to this hunt. Casimiro detailed the process, stating that the board “agreed and wanted to have the entire team be the search team,” with “every person [getting] the chance to interview a potential superintendent.” Dr. Casimiro “was not privy to the information” regarding the contenders for the next permanent superintendent. However, in an interview with NewsTimes reporter Michael Gagne, teachers’ union leader Erin Daly stated her belief that Casimiro is “the best person at this moment in time. She’s best suited for the position.”

Casimiro added that similar to the process of replacing Dr. Sal following his resignation three years ago, the board could “bring in an outside search firm to advertise around Connecticut, in the Northeast, and even across the country” as a search firm could help recruit people with the ideal profile that the board desires.

It is possible that the board may once again bring in a third party—like Ray & Associates in the past—to aid in the hunt for a new superintendent (NewsTimes).

Despite this process having already begun, Casimiro noted that this search could take months at a time. The search for Dr. Pascarella’s replacement took several months, spanning the winter and spring of the 2020–21 school year.

As the Board of Education scrambles to remedy the tumultuous situation that has arisen with Walston’s resignation, the future of Danbury Public Schools hangs in balance. Already a school district struggling with budgeting and overcrowding, Danbury is in desperate need of a superintendent who can help progress the education of Danbury students. The next superintendent, according to Casimiro, has to “pick up where someone left abruptly. That could be a little tricky if projects aren’t completed.”

On a final note, Casimiro says that “as far as the next superintendent goes… [has] to create their own vision and move the district forward in collaboration with the Board of Ed.”

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About the Contributors
Riya Pharsiyawar, Staff Writer
Hey! This is my first year writing for the Hatters Herald and I am super excited to be learning about Journalism. I am currently a junior here at DHS. I love reading and writing and I am the Treasurer of the National English Honors Society as well as an editor for our school's literary magazine, the Nutmegger. Besides this, I am also very interested in international relations and hope to pursue a career in this field. For fun, I like to travel, bake, and learn new languages.
Jenna Saltzman, Senior Editor
I am currently a Junior and this is my third year writing for Hatters' Herald. I was interested in becoming a writer for this newspaper because I enjoy writing and see it as an opportunity to grow as a writer. Aside from writing, I enjoy swimming on the DHS Girls Swim Team. 

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