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Westport Schools: Greenwich ‘Jumped the Gun’ On New Staples Principal

Elliott Landon, superintendent of schools in Westport, Photo Credit: File
Who will be the new principal at Staples High School ? Photo Credit: File

Updated: WESTPORT, Conn. -- There is some confusion in two towns over the appointment of the new principal at Staples High School in Westport.

An announcement made Tuesday by the Greenwich Public Schools on its website that the principal at Central Middle School had accepted the top job in Westport was premature, according to the Westport schools.

The full statement is here on the Greenwich Public Schools' website, saying, "Central Middle School (CMS) Principal Shelley Somers has accepted the position of Principal of Staples High School in Westport, CT, effective July 1, 2015."

But a statement from Lisa Marriott, spokeswoman for the Westport schools, said, "Unfortunately the Greenwich Public Schools jumped the gun" on the announcement.

A statement from Elliott Landon, superintendent of schools in Westport, clarified the issue.

"Despite the recent press release sent by the Greenwich Public Schools, Shelley Somers HAS NOT been appointed as the Principal of Staples High School at this time," Landon said. "The press release was issued in error and Greenwich has apologized to me and the Westport community for its error."

An email Wednesday from the Greenwich Public Schools explained Superintendent Bill McKerise's premature announcement. "Dr. McKersie misunderstood the status and timing of the appointment," the statement said.

The Westeport search committee, which included teachers, parents, administrators and students, was unanimous in advising Landon to recommend to the Board of Education that Somers replace John Dodig, Landon said.

An interview with the Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday, May 26.

"Both Ms. Somers and I are excited about the possibility that she may join our staff," Landon said. "She is an accomplished leader in Greenwich who enjoys the respect and appreciation of teachers, students, parents and her administrative colleagues."

Somers was recently named Connecticut PTA Middle School Principal of the Year.

"As of this date, Ms. Somers has not been interviewed by any members of the Board of Education. She is scheduled to meet with the community, teachers, students and administrative staff of Staples on Tuesday, May 26, beginning at 9 a.m. and will be expected to comment and receive questions about her full career and the qualities that she may bring to Westport.

"The full day of meetings with staff and students will culminate with an interview with the seven members of the Board of Education that evening," he said.

Landon closed the statement by driving home the point.

"To repeat, the press notice from Greenwich was released in error and Greenwich has accepted full responsibility for this error in communication."

Dodig, who has been the principal of Staples High School for the last 11 years, is retiring at the end of the school year.

For the announcement by the Greenwich schools, check out this story on the Daily Voice.

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