The Stratford Board of Education has temporarily suspended its search for a replacement for outgoing Supt. of Schools Irene Cornish and instead named Stratford High School Principal Margaret Lasek as interim superintendent.
According to School Board Chairman Gavin B. Forrester III, the move to delay the appointment of a new superintendent was due in part to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School Dec. 14.
“Everyone involved in the education community needed to focus solely upon reviewing our emergency plans and procedures,” said Forrester, “not only here in Stratford, which we are actively doing with the assistance of the mayor and his staff, but in every district in Connecticut as well.”
The school board received nearly 20 applications since convening a search committee for a new superintendent in the early summer. Forrester said that after reviewing the applicants and conducting interviews, the school board had reduced the number of candidates to three by early December.
According to Forrester, the shooting in Newtown, combined with other factors, complicated the school board’s final decision.
“Currently every district in our state is actively involved in their budget process,” Forrester said. “And it became clear to the board that our best course of action would be to suspend our search and name an acting superintendent for the balance of this school year and to resume our deliberations in late March and early April.”
Lasek has served the district for more than 41 years, and has been a principal at the elementary, middle and high school levels in Stratford.
In naming Lasek, Forrester said, “The board’s decision is based on her extensive knowledge of the district, her experience in assisting with the operation of the district under superintendent Cornish prior to the establishment of the assistant superintendent position, and the desire to minimize the disruption to the districts leadership.”
Forrester said that in Lasek’s absence from Stratford High School, current Assistant Principal Joseph Corso would act in her stead.
“Mrs. Lasek will continue as the interim superintendent until a permanent superintendent is named prior to July 1, 2013,” said Forrester.
According to Forrester, Lasek is not considered a candidate for the permanent position of school superintendent, but will instead assist the incoming superintendent to acclimate to the Stratford school district.
Cornish officially retires as of Jan. 1.