WALLINGFORD — The Board of Education appointed Francis Thompson, principal of Jonathan Law High School in Milford, as the school district’s new assistant superintendent for personnel this week.
Thompson’s tentative start date is Sept. 1. He is slated to replace Danielle Bellizzi, who has held the position for three years and was promoted to superintendent of schools last month.
Thompson has almost 20 years of experience as a school administrator, including 10 years as principal at Jonathan Law, three years as principal at Derby High School and six years as an assistant principal at Daniel Hand High School in Madison.
Before that, he was an English teacher at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury.
Thompson said Monday that his interest in human resources drew him to the position.
“I've always been interested in personnel,” he said. “As a principal, you hire staff and you deal with all kinds of personnel issues, but on a much smaller level.”
He said he has experience with unions and been in negotiation teams. He has served as president of the Milford Association of School Administrators, Local 120 of the American Federation of School Administrators.
“I think that the real opportunity here, the big opportunity here in Wallingford, is that there's so many good people always working in support of the kids,” he said. “I want to honor that, and I want to work together to continue building a capacity of everybody, the professional efficacy of everybody. That's always my goal.”
Anna Cutaia, Milford Public Schools superintendent, has worked with Thompson for three years.
She said via email Tuesday that Thompson “has been a highly effective educational leader for the Jonathan Law school community.”
“His departure will be deeply felt,” she said, “as he is very much beloved because of his genuine connections with families, his passionate advocacy for
students and his love for the Law-mazing community.”
Cutaia called Thompson “an instrumental member of our district leadership team helping us to navigate the complexities of school improvement.”
“The Milford school community is sad to see one of our own go but are very proud and supportive of his advancement and wish him well,” she said.
Bellizzi said Monday in a message to school staff and families that Thompson “is committed to the belief that we provide students with the best possible foundation for success by supporting the adults entrusted with their care.”
“His addition to the central office leadership team will help ensure a smooth transition to what will be a challenging school year,” she said, “while assisting all of us in providing positive and meaningful experiences for students and staff throughout Wallingford.”
Thompson, 51, is a Waterbury resident. His salary is slated to be $172,000.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Marist College, his master's degree in teaching from Quinnipiac University, his administrative certificate for school administration from Sacred Heart University and his doctorate from the University of Virginia.
Wallingford’s assistant superintendent for personnel handles labor relations, oversees recruitment and retention of staff and supervises the activities of the personnel office.
Wallingford has two other assistant superintendents — Carrie LaTorre for curriculum and instruction and Aimee Turner for special education.