Milford school board extends superintendent contract

MILFORD — Citing her leadership through difficult circumstances, the Milford Board of Education extended Superintendent Anna Cutaia’s contract for another three years.

The extension is effective July 1, 2021, and runs through June 30, 2024.

“When you see the levels of retirements and resignations throughout the country, never mind throughout the state, and seeing that is so low in Milford, that’s a real, concrete demonstration of the excellent leadership that Dr. Cutaia has shown us,” said Una Petroske during board discussion.

Board member Adam DeYoung said leadership in the city schools starts at the top, and that Cutaia set the example for the district.

“One of the things I think about as it relates to Milford Public Schools is that they didn’t let us see them sweat,” said DeYoung. “They did an outstanding job in the leadership at the top which, is how it starts. Dr. Cutaia put in 24 hours, seven days a week or whatever was needed to get our schools open before many of the schools in Connecticut and around the country were open, and they stayed open for most of the school year.”

Cutaia was named Milford school superintendent in 2018. At the time, she brought 27 years of professional educational experience. Prior to coming to Milford she spent four years as superintendent of schools in Regional District 14, which includes Woodbury and Bethlehem.

Before extending Cutaia’s contract, the board conducted a job evaluation during an executive session at its June 28 meeting. The session lasted nearly two hours, and when it was over the board voted unanimously to the three-year extension.

In the meeting’s public session, all board members had positive comments about Cutaia.

“The Milford Public Schools and the community are in a very good position having Dr. Cutaia as our leader,” said Nicole Wasson during the board’s public discussion.

Board Member Emily McDonough Souza said Cutaia’s ability to communicate clearly and effectively with students, parents and staff has been exemplary.

“Even if someone might not have agreed with decisions being made, I think that all of her decisions were well thought out and she really explained her thinking and no one was kept in the dark,” Souza said. “For that and many other reasons, I support the continuation of her contract.”

Betsy Ratner said she appreciated how transparent Cutaia and her team were with the board, and how seriously she took the safety of staff and students when they went back to school this year.

Rita Hennessey also cited Cutaia’s communication skills, saying she appreciated Cutaia’s “focusing on communicating well with stakeholders, coming up with a reopening plan with the safety of students, staff and family first and foremost and maintaining a quality of education as well.”

Susan Glennon, board president, said Cutaia did a great job leading the school district through a difficult year.

“She’s done it with grace, transparency, and strong leadership and I too will be very proud to support a new contract,” she said.

Cutaia graduated Mount St. Mary College in 1991, followed by master’s in education from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997. She received her sixth year certificate in the Executive Leadership Program in 2007, followed doctorate in 2013, both from the University of Connecticut.

Cutaia started her career in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal between 1991 and 2003. After moving to Connecticut she served as principal of Casimir Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden. She also worked with the Connecticut State Department of Education as an educational consultant and as an adjunct professor at UConn and Southern Connecticut State.

When Cutaia was superintendent for Regional District 14, she led the development and implementation of a district theory of action and strategy, guiding the decision-making process for the district.