Wallingford school board appoints new Sheehan assistant principal

WALLINGFORD — The Board of Education appointed teacher Greg Dirkson as Sheehan High School’s newest assistant principal during a special meeting Thursday night — moving former assistant principal James Francese to a curriculum coordinator for English and Language Arts and Humanities position.

The changes were made during a special Board of Education meeting at the Central Office building, 43 Hall Ave., 2½ weeks before school starts on Aug. 27.

The school board met in executive session for over an hour to discuss a personnel matter considering a school administrator. It also discussed the candidate for Lyman Hall High School’s athletic director position behind closed doors.

After coming out of executive session, the school board appointed Francese to the curriculum coordinator position. Dirkson was an employee in the school system before being promoted to assistant principal.

Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay noted that the curriculum coordinator position was not “new,” as described on the meeting agenda.

“It’s not a new position, but an enhanced position,” McKay said.

Retirements during the summer allowed the school board and administrators to explore an “expansion of services,” School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said in an email Aug. 6. Menzo is in China with a group of high school students.

“We have had to add other teaching positions to meet increased enrollment needs also — that will be accommodated through the existing salary account,” he wrote. “This is not a new practice.”

Immediately after making the changes, the board went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations.

Sheehan’s administrative team now consists of Principal Rosemary Duthie and two assistant principals, Dirkson and Justin Marciano. Marciano, who was hired in July, replaced David Kimball, who transferred to Lyman Hall to fill a vacancy left by Cindy Lavalette when she was promoted to assistant superintendent for personnel.

On June 4, Francese signed a contract to continue serving as assistant principal from July 1 to June 30, 2015, for a salary of $133,862.

It’s unclear if Francese will receive a different salary in his new position.

In June, Francese was placed on paid administrative leave for two days as the central office investigated a teacher’s allegation that he made “inappropriate comments” during the teacher’s end-of-the-year evaluation, according to school documents obtained by the Record-Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In other business, the school board appointed Steve Baker as Lyman Hall High School athletic director. Baker is replacing Amy Labas. (203) 317-2235 Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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