New Milford hires new assistant superintendent and high school principal

NEW MILFORD — The district’s school board named a new principal for New Milford High School and a new assistant superintendent at a regular meeting on Tuesday night.

Holly Hollander, the former director of curriculum and instruction in Lebanon, was hired as the district’s next assistant superintendent. Raymond Manka, former principal of Stamford High School, was hired as the next high school principal.

They will begin their new roles on or about July 1.

Manka will be taking Greg Shugrue’s position as Shugrue leaves the district to become the Gilbert School’s new head of school. Hollander will fill a spot held by interim assistant superintendent Catherine Calabrese.

“I am thrilled to welcome Ms. Hollander and Mr. Manka to the New Milford Public Schools administrative team,” wrote Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo in a press release sent early Wednesday morning.

She stated that both candidates “model through their actions, and articulate the importance of collaboration and effective communication.”

The press release detailed both educators’ backgrounds, including Hollander’s work in “curriculum redesign and alignment to assessment review and data management.”

She has previously served in a variety of administrative positions across the state, including roles as the director of educational programs at the CT Science Center, the director of the Mandell Academy for Teachers, and as the teaching and learning director and the K-12 common core supervisor for Cromwell Public Schools.

Hollander’s experience includes serving as an instructor at Central Connecticut State University for elementary education, and as the director of student teaching and field experience for nearly 10 years.

In addition to her administrative roles, Hollander has worked as a third and fifth grade teacher.

Hollander holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Illinois State University and a master’s in elementary education from Central Connecticut State University.

Manka comes to New Milford from Stamford, where he has been the high school principal since 2015. During his career, he has also served as assistant principal for high schools in several districts, including Stamford, Norwalk, and Westhill.

Manka’s first teaching roles were as a sixth grade science teacher in Bridgeport, and a biology teacher at both Jonathan Law High School in Milford and Ridgefield High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and biology from Western Connecticut State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Bridgeport.

Hollander’s new post is one that hasn’t been filled for some time, and the board has been searching for a full-time replacement since December of 2020.

Previously, DiCorpo served as the interim assistant superintendent and then interim superintendent in 2020 before she was hired as the new superintendent earlier this year. When she vacated the interim assistant superintendent position, the board selected Catherine Calabrese to serve in the position until they could find a new hire.

At the time, Calabrese was serving as the assistant principal for both Northville Elementary and Schaghticoke Middle Schools, and her appointment as interim assistant superintendent required some reshuffling of positions to cover the vacancies.

In the press release, DiCorpo went on to call the new hires “reflective educators who will continue to build on the great work already begun in their respective positions.”

“I very much look forward to working alongside them as they begin their work in the district."