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Easton's Superintendent Makes Himself at Home

EASTON, Conn. – Easton’s new superintendent has made his office his own with items collected from garage sales — including Pisqa Forest pottery and collectible books.

He started his collection while teaching in Illinois. "I was selling antiques. Actually, it was junk. We bought junk and sold antiques," Bernard Josefsberg said.

Josefsberg joined the Region 9 schools from New Jersey. His going away gift from the Leonia Public Schools was a first edition collection of poems and plays by William Butler Yeats.

Josefsberg said he has “only dipped his toes” into the job since July 15 and said he is enjoying his interactions with the community. He was previously the high school principal in New Canaan and said he is happy to be back in Fairfield County and in Connecticut.

“There is a concern about providing high quality education, a value placed upon results and many talented people and staff across the two towns,” Josefsberg said of why he likes Easton and Redding.

In less than a month, he has already hired a science teacher for Helen Keller Middle School, been involved in teacher negotiations and is organizing his first full-scale administration consulting meeting.

In response to the idea of Easton, Redding and Region 9 boards of education becoming one , Josefsberg said, "I was not hired to consolidate three boards. ... It's clear we need to integrate effort to sustain and/or create effective processes to help the districts work as an organization."

To accomplish this, Josefsberg said, "The Easton elementary school principal should have a working relationship with the Redding principal and the Helen Keller Middle School principal and the Joel Barlow High School principal. It should be more than a superficial relationship to support the work of the K-12 operation."

He said these issues are common and exist even with a single district. Although he hasn't prepared a list of changes for the district, Josefsberg does have a way of working that incorporates his values and priorities.

"I value community, collaboration, providing quality programs for all students, the need to retool schools for 21st century learning, investments in personal and collective learning. Schools should be interesting to students," he said.

As for Joel Barlow's AP courses, specifically AP history which has come under fire, Josefsberg said there are "ways of addressing concerns while keeping the program in place." This includes offering other courses, which could include seminars and great books discussions, he said. "Different models of working can coexist in one building and serve different purposes."

Josefsberg rides his bicycle in nice weather to stay in shape and rides his stationary bike when the winter prevents him from being outside. He became a cab driver while in college and continued post-grad until he started substitute teaching in Jersey City.

What issues would you like Bernard Josefsberg to address in the Easton schools? What would you like him to leave alone? Leave your comments in the box below.

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