Monday, December 06, 2021

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New Schools Superintendent Named

By Jarret Liotta

UPDATE  Thomas Scarice, leader of the Madison Public Schools for the past eight years, was named Westport’s new permanent superintendent of schools tonight.

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Thomas Scarice “incredibly humbling.” Contributed photo

During its second online meeting since the COVID-19 crisis took it virtual, the Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved Scarice, who officially begins in July.

“This is incredibly humbling to have this opportunity to come to Westport,” Scarice said. “This is such an incredible experience for me. I am very excited about it.”

Prior to being name superintendent in Madison in 2012, Scarice served as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Weston under Westport’s last Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer, where he received praise from her and the town’s BOE members.

According to The Day newspaper, Scarice served as principal of Two Rivers Magnet Middle School in East Hartford before heading to Weston in 2008.

A native of North Haven, he attended University of Connecticut and Southern Connecticut State University. He is married and has three children.

Scarice acknowledged that Westport has experienced a range of recent challenges, but said he was “absolutely thrilled to partner to overcome these challenges and to serve the community of Westport.”

While he joked about the cake he was offered from the BOE for congratulations, he waxed serious in relation to COVID-19.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how sobering our world is right now,” he said, noting a “greater need for leaders.”

“I really am excited about the opportunity for partnering across the entire community … This is a time to really turn toward the positive and I hope I can contribute that to Westport.”

Scarice haled the value of public schools, noted however they were not best served in a virtual setting.

“We work best with kids in front of us,” he said, calling them “so necessary in our society.”

Scarice was praised by BOE members for various positive qualities, including a spirit of conviction in his beliefs, his skills as a strategic thinker, and his ability to communicate with others.

“The main impression that Tom left with me … was that he really understands the times we live in and has a deep conviction to really help students navigate through these times,” said BOE member Youn Su Chao.

“He’s such a good communicator,” said BOE member Vik Muktavaram. “That was, for me, one of the key takeaways … and I think we will be well-served by that.”

“I was just struck by your intelligence, and your drive,” BOE member Karen Kleine told Scarice. “I see someone who gets things done.”

“We’re a great school district but we can’t rest on our laurels,” she said. “We’ve got to keep moving forward.”

Chair Candice Savin noted that all the board members worked hard on the interview process, which began with close to 30 candidates.

“Everybody was 100-percent committed and presented,” she said.

In a statement, Savin said: ““Tom Scarice is a highly regarded educational leader. He brings a wealth of experience and a strong legacy of accomplishment to Westport.

“Tom is a strategic thinker who recognizes the excellence of the Westport Public Schools and embraces the challenge of guiding our district to an even brighter future. His warmth and energy will serve him well as he focuses on our mission of reaching the potential of every child.”

A board statement said: “Tom’s distinguished professional profile is highlighted with innovative educational practices, a deep understanding of the social-emotional needs of the learner, and one who has the ability to build consensus with all stakeholders.”

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