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Weston Schools Chief Settles Into New Role

WESTON, Conn. — The first few months in her new position as superintendent of schools has had quite a learning curve, Colleen Palmer says. “I moved to Weston this past spring and let me just say, I continue to learn about my new home. I am trying to immerse myself in town and civic affairs,” Palmer said.

She became superintendent July 25 and said she has received nothing but kind words from the community since her first day. “I, in all honesty, have felt a very, very warm welcome since the moment I came to Weston. Our parent committee is full of enthusiasm and zeal and has been absolutely fabulous.”

In the first few months as superintendent, Palmer faced some unexpected challenges: Students lost four days of school because of damage caused by Hurricane Irene and then a Weston High School teacher who was under investigation by police for alleged actions involving former students resigned unexpectedly last month.

“I think parents truly respect her. She has been open, honest and transparent. I think she handled those situations with as much transparence as legally possible,” said First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.

“Dr. Palmer has been an outstanding addition to our school district, and she has been very cooperative with us whether dealing with natural disasters or helping our residents on the school campus. You can also see that she has a tremendous work ethic,” Weinstein said.

That work ethic goes back as far as Palmer can remember. “Education has always been important to me. I really do look at it as the great equalizer. When I was younger, I was always tutoring kids in school. I have always been very school-oriented.”

She holds a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics education from the University of Connecticut, where she graduated summa cum laude in three years. Palmer also holds a master of science degree in K-12 school counseling as well as a sixth-year degree in administration and supervision from Southern Connecticut State University. It was at that time that she juggled working full time, raising her three children and taking classes at night. “It kept me busy,” Palmer joked. “You know, when you really want something, it becomes something you just do."

Palmer also completed the Executive Leadership Program/Superintendent Preparation at the University of Connecticut, where she also received her doctorate in education administration.

When asked whether she plans to pass that strong work ethic to the children of Weston, Palmer said, “I come with no agenda. My goal is to continue the pathway for high achievement for our students, to preserve our rich, robust arts program and to get the students prepared for the future.”

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