NORTH HAVEN — The Board of Education has appointed Ridge Road Elementary School principal Patrick A. Stirk to be the next superintendent of North Haven Public Schools.
“We feel that North Haven has been doing a great job,” school board Chairwoman Anita Anderson said during Thursday’s meeting. “Dr. (Robert) Cronin has led us on the path to excellence and we feel that (Stirk) will be able to continue on that path for us.”
Cronin announced his retirement in August.
Stirk is expected to start full-time March 4, with Cronin working part time until then.
“It's still a little surreal for me, but I feel very blessed...,” Stirk said after his appointment. “(To) my Ridge Road folks: I’m immensely grateful for being a part of your community the past few years. Thank goodness I'm only going down the road a little bit.”
An interim principal will be named at Ridge Road School.
Stirk, an Orange resident, has been principal at Ridge Road since 2015. He’s excited to start a “looking and listening” tour of the district soon.
The appointment comes after a five-month search process with guidance from Joseph Erardi, of JE Consulting. Input from community members, parents and school district staff was collected through multiple forums, surveys and meetings.
“Very rarely is there a consensus endorsement enthusiastically and that's what you had this evening, so terrific work on the hiring committee,” Erardi said.
Anderson said the community surveys were a big part of the final decision.
“From looking at some of those surveys, (Stirk) encompasses everything,” Anderson said. “He's not just (focused) on education — that's the main thing — but he's looking at the arts, he's looking at sports, he's looking to find a way to bring everything together and ensure that we have the budget for everything that we want and everything that we need.”
Anderson said a contract has not been finalized, but Stirk is expected to earn about $170,000 a year, as well as a benefits package.
Stirk was also formerly assistant principal at Stratford Academy/Eli Whitney School in Stratford in 2015 and a first grade teacher for 10 years prior, in Bridgeport. He has a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz and a master’s and sixth year degree from Southern Connecticut State University.