New Milford hires school administrators

NEW MILFORD -- The Board of Education this week filled six administrative vacancies: two assistant principals at the high school, one at the middle school, one part-time elementary school post and two special education supervisors.

With an early retirement incentive package offered to teachers and administrators as well as some unexpected resignations, the district hopes to fill 10 administrative positions for central office and its six schools. To date, the board has hired for all but one of those positions.

The two new high school assistant principals include Marc Balanda, who started his educational career at Danbury High as a science teacher. In 2007, he was hired as an assistant principal at Watertown High School, where he supervised science, music, art, technology and vocational education.

Balanda, who will replace retiring Donna Luzi, will earn an annual salary of $120,529.

Christopher Longo, a 12-year veteran of the Bethel Public Schools, will replace Suzi Greene, who is being transferred to fill the assistant principal post at Schaghticoke Middle School. Greene will replace the retiring Gerald Robinson.

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About the administrators Laura Olson: director of pupil personnel and special services; master's degree in special education from Western Connecticut State University; sixth-year degree in educational leadership from Southern Connecticut State University. Marc Balanda: New Milford High assistant principal; master's degree in curriculum and instruction from University of Connecticut; intermediate administration and supervision certificate from University of Bridgeport. Tracy-Ann Menzies: Interim supervisor of special education at New Milford High; master's degree in special education from National University in San Diego; pursuing intermediate administrative certification at Sacred Heart University. Susan Ruddock: Half-time elementary assistant principal at Hill and Plain Elementary; master's degree in elementary education from University of Bridgeport; administrative certification from Sacred Heart University. Christopher Longo: High school assistant principal; doctorate in instructional leadership from WestConn. Suzi Greene: Schaghticoke Middle School assistant principal; currently assistant principal at the high school; former assistant principal at Sarah Noble Intermediate School; hired to the district from the Amity Regional District 5.

Longo, who was a Bethel Middle School science teacher and curriculum leader from 2000 to 2010 and has a doctorate in instructional leadership, will earn an annual salary of $109,062.

For the director of pupil personnel and special services, the school board unanimously endorsed Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote's recommendation of Laura Olson, a 30-year educator who has worked in districts in Missouri, Wisconsin and Connecticut, including work as a special education teacher and special education department chairman at Schaghticoke Middle School from 1992 to 2010.

In 2010, Olson was named the K-12 supervisor of pupil personnel services for the New Fairfield School district. Olson comes to New Milford from her most current assignment as interim assistant principal at Meetinghouse Hill School in New Fairfield. Olson, who replaces retiring Adele Johnson, will earn an annual salary of $127,921.

The board also filled an interim supervisor of special education at New Milford High School. For that job, the board hired Tracy-Ann Menzies, who has taught special education at the high school for three years. Prior to that assignment, she worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District beginning in 2001 as a special education teacher and a department chairman.;860-354-2274;