Norwich – School district school superintendent Kristen Stringfellow’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic was not the only thing that earned her a commendation from the Board of Education.
School board president Heather Romanski pointed out that Stringfellow also spent some of that time doubling as district finance director and without an assistant superintendent and program director.
Stringfellow also led efforts to draft a new equity policy and plan, revised the district budget, and drafted plans to incorporate millions of dollars in federal grants into the district’s COVID-19 stimulus plan. – restoring music and sports to the district for the first time in a decade, being just one example.
Stringfellow was also recognized for helping to improve relations with the Norwich Free Academy with the new principal of the NFA school, Brian Kelly, and for improving communications with city government and city council.
The Board of Directors rewarded Stringfellow with the standard one-year contract extension, added an unusual one-time bonus of $ 2,500 for taking on additional duties, an increase of 2.3%, bringing his salary to 193,040 $ from July 1 and five additional vacation days.
“It wasn’t easy,” Romanski said during Tuesday’s discussion of Stringfellow’s rating. “There was no game manual that we were tweaking for what we did last year. You wrote it with your teams and your work groups as it evolved. It seemed like just as we hit a stride we had to pivot again. And we kept moving forward. “
Romanski noted that Stringfellow worked almost every weekend after the school reopened for in-person learning, conducting student and staff contact tracing for potential exposures to the COVID-19 virus and assessing the pattern of learning for the coming week based on COVID data.
“I am grateful to work here,” Stringfellow told the board on Tuesday. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful community. I have an amazing team, so nothing ever happens on its own, ever. “
Board member Kevin Saythany praised Stringfellow in particular for keeping the board and parents informed of COVID-19 cases, exposures and issues in the school community. Stringfellow sends letters to parents and staff at each school whenever a case of COVID-19 has been reported, indicating the date of the positive test, the last time the person – student or staff – was at school, and the number of close contacts invited to quarantine. At the height of the pandemic, several letters per week were issued.
Stringfellow provided the school board with monthly charts on COVID numbers by school, the number and percentages of students opting for distance learning and the school learning model for each upcoming week based on the COVID data.
“Transparency is very important to the Board of Education,” Saythany said. “During COVID in particular, when you sent us data, we would just keep in touch if the parents had any questions. It also helped parents, who wanted to know what the simple numbers were. “
Stringfellow credited his central office staff including executive assistant Amber Rutigliano – “she’s been on every, every call” about contact tracing – Director of Student Services Jamie Bender, Deputy Superintendent Tamara Gloster and new business administrator Robert Sirpenski.
“We have great things planned for our children,” Stringfellow said. “We have a great partnership with NFA. We are really excited about the fairness committee. … I’m happy to be a part of it. Thank you for the trust you have placed in me and for your support.