SOUTHINGTON — Teachers, administrators and members of the public packed the Municipal Center Monday night to greet the new superintendent of schools at a special Board of Education meeting. Southington resident Timothy F. Connellan, now the Oxford school superintendent, was appointed as the new superintendent in Southington.
“This is a big night for the Southington public schools,” school board Chairman Brian Goralski said before the special meeting started.
Connellan, 59, has lived in Southington for the past 34 years. All three of his children are graduates of Southington High School. He has been Oxford’s superintendent since 2012 and before that was the superintendent of Bethany schools. From 1980 to 1984 Connellan worked as a school psychologist in Southington.
Connellan, who will finish the year in Oxford, said he will be working closely with the school board on a transition plan. In the meantime he plans on listening as much as he can to residents.
“That is really my first task,” Connellan said. “I’m excited to work with the children of my own community.”
The search process started shortly after School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. announced in January he was taking a position as superintendent in Newtown. The school board hired two search consultants a few weeks later, applications for the position were accepted until the end of March, and interviews started in April.
Nearly 20 people applied. Seven were interviewed by the board before the search was narrowed to three finalists.
After the school board announced Connellan’s appointment, a line of more than 30 people formed to meet him.
Bob Brown, president of the teachers association, met Connellan for the first time.
“I like the fact that sitting here, he laughed three times already,” Brown said. “People have to not compare him to Joe Erardi. Let him be who he is.”
While at the podium speaking to the audience, Connellan made a couple of jokes about the interview process.
“The first interview, I thought, was like, remember the TV show where there was a lightning round?” Connellan said. “Answer those questions!”
“I am very, very pleased with our selection,” said Terri Carmody, the school board vice chairwoman. “He is humble; he is willing to meet with all aspects of the community.”
“We had an excellent pool of candidates and he stood out,” said Patricia Queen, a school board member. “He fits in line with our vision for education. He brings a lot of depth.”
“I think his energy, his vision, and his desire to do things are what we need,” said school board member Zaya Oshana. “I think he’s got what we need to go forward.”
Once the special meeting was over, Connellan stayed for the Town Council meeting.
Connellan received a second standing ovation from the council and members of the public as he walked toward the podium again.
“Thank you for your warm welcome,” Connellan said.
“Thank you, and we welcome to your new position,” said Cheryl Lounsbury the vice chairwoman of the council. “We’re all behind you.”
Connellan will officially start work Aug. 11 at an annual salary of $179,910.