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Norwalk Reacts To Choice Of Interim Superintendent

NORWALK, Conn. – One Norwalk mother says it's a "horrible choice." A Norwalk father with a similar level of involvement in Norwalk schools welcomes the selection "with open arms."

Reactions run the gamut when it comes to the naming of Assistant Superintendent Tony Dadonna as interim superintendent of Norwalk Public Schools to replace Susan Marks, who resigned last month. Some agreed with the Board of Education members who voted for him, saying that he knows the system, knows its funding and knows the people in it and is therefore the right choice to fill in. Others agreed with the Board of Education members who voted no, that it's a "status quo" choice.

"I made my position clear when I wrote my letter to Commissioner Pryor upon Marks' resignation," Lisa Thomson said in an email. "Norwalk needs substantial education reform, and I don't believe it can or will come from the BOE or current NPS administration ... regardless of who they are. Decades of politics is just that!"

"I think it was the appropriate move at this time," Drew Todd, former president of the Wolfpit Elementary School PTO, said in an email. "We can't have the schools without a leader at the helm with the opening of school about a month away. ... I truly will welcome him with open arms. He knows and wants this to be a temporary position while the board can concentrate are conducting a very thorough search for a permanent superintendent."

"I think he's a horrible choice," Lisa Lenskold, former president of the Nathan Hale Middle School PTO, said in an email. "His mishandling of the Nathan Hale Reading Program was just the tip of the iceberg for me."

Dadonna questioned the legality of the reading program, according to Board of Education minutes and Bruce Mellion, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers.

"When you're in any of these positions and you try to do the right thing, maybe sometimes it doesn't quite work out the way it's supposed to," Mellion said. "It appears that it may have been in the best interests of students but it may not have been legal. I don't know enough about it but I'm betting that's what it is."

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