WOONSOCKET – The School Committee has tapped retired Connecticut and Lincoln Superintendent of Schools, Colette B. Trailor, to fill the local district’s available interim superintendent post.
On Wednesday night, the committee voted 4 to 1, with member Vimala Phongsavanh opposed, to name Trailor as departing Supt. Robert J. Gerardi’s temporary replacement.
Phongsavanh had joined school committeewoman Anita McGuire-Forcier in opposing the panel’s initial bid to name Portsmouth Supt. Susan Lusi as Gerardi’s temporary replacement under a 3-2 vote at the panel’s last meeting. Lusi, who McGuire-Forcier and Phongsavanh opposed over the cost of hiring a temporary top administrator, subsequently took a similar job with the Providence School Department.
Phongsavanh said she still had concerns over the cost of the temporary post as the panel made its second attempt to fill the job.
“I won’t be supporting this tonight because I still think we should be saving the money it will take for the department to fill this position for only two months,” Phongsavanh said.
McGuire-Forcier was not present at Wednesday’s meeting. Phongsavanh and McGuire-Forcier had recommended the panel tap the department’s Deputy Supt. Mark Garceau to cover Gerardi’s post until a replacement could be found. Their peers, however, argued that that proposal would be counter to the state Department of Education’s recommendation that both positions be filled with qualified candidates.
School committee member Eleanor Nadeau, who served as liaison to the panel’s search committee with fellow members Linda Majewski, said Trailor was recommended by the selection panel and has agreed to take the job.
She will be paid $538-a-day as set forth by the School Committee during its prior discussion of the interim post and would receive travel compensation only to required state Department of Education meetings.
The salary is based on Gerardi’s pro-rated $140,000-a-year compensation, not including benefits.
The interim superintendent will be allowed only Labor Day as a paid holiday and will not be afforded sick time or medical benefits, Nadeau said. “She accepted the position with these stipulations,” Nadeau said.
Trailor may choose to also apply for the full-time superintendent job when that search begins in July, Nadeau said. The committee hopes to have the full-time position filled by the start of school in the fall.
School Committeewoman Linda Majewski listed Trailor’s many qualifications for the job from her resume and told her committee peers, “she comes to us with a wealth of experience. I am looking forward to working with her.”
Trailor holds a bachelor of science degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Connecticut State University and also earned a master’s degree in teaching English from the university in addition to advanced graduate studies there. She earned a doctorate degree in special education from the University of Connecticut’s School of Education in 1980.
Trailor served as Superintendent of Schools for the Lincoln School District from 1991 to 1996 and then headed the Sprague, Conn., school district from 1996 to 1999. She also served as superintendent of schools for Provincetown, Mass., from 2001-2006 and has served as an interim school superintendent for several Connecticut school districts since 2005. She has also worked as a school psychologist, a secondary level teacher, an elementary level teacher and as a director of pupil personnel.
School Committee Chairman Marc A. Dubois said he would be supporting the selection of Trailor for the temporary position and commended the search committee for its work in interviewing a list of five candidates for the temporary post.
“They had to put in a lot of work to do all these interviews,” Dubois said of the process resulting in two candidates being forwarded to the committee for consideration.
Following the vote to name Trailor, Majewski said the search committee expects to close out its application process for the full-time post and begin candidate review on that position in July.