Jerry Belair is leaving Weston after three years as superintendent of schools. Community and school leaders gathered at the Weston Intermediate School on Thursday to bid farewell to their colleague, who starts his new position in Waterford on Monday.
"It's been a hectic last couple of weeks because of the snow," Belair said over the laughs and conversation that permeated the library. The mood was bittersweet people were happy to see him take a job closer to home but sad to see him leave town.
"We've done so much together, partnering with the board, the staff and the community," Belair said. "It's not about what you do, it's about, really, providing opportunities. ... The real mark is, does the work continue on? It can never be about the individual. There's a team in place here, and I think they work very hard."
School board member Richard Bochinski has worked with Belair since he came on board. "I spent my life in education," he said, "and I've been thinking that this is a man who I would have liked to have been my superintendent. ... We're going to miss him a lot."
Hurlbutt principal Joanna Genovese agreed. "He's bringing a bus, and we're all going with him," she said. "We've become quite a team under his tutelage. He values others input, which we didn't have, so we're hoping that will continue on."
Interim superintendent John Reed will take over until the search for a permanent replacement is complete. "I'm very happy that he's coming back," Bochinski said. "He'll be an excellent person to get us to the next step."
Reed sat in on the budget meetings and visited central office twice a week to ensure a smooth transition, Belair said. The school board is accepting applications for the superintendent position until the middle of March and hopes to have the slot filled by this summer.
"The job is never done," Belair added. "I think the foundation is laid. ... People are rowing the boat in the right direction and the same direction."
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