Dr. Patricia Cosentino has wasted no time taking the bull by the horns in Region 12.

The new superintendent of schools let the Region 12 Board of Education know Monday she is in the driver's seat.

"All requests for money, programs, should come through me before it comes to the board," Dr. Cosentino told the board members Monday. "If anyone comes to you with a request, direct them to me.

"I'm going to meet with our administrators next week to look at our vision and expectations. I'm meeting with the teachers. That's the way people understand who is in charge and that we're moving in the same direction."

Dr. Cosentino took the helm July 1 at Region 12, replacing Dr. Bruce Storm.

Her previous position had been as principal at Bethel High School. Before that, she served at Berry Middle School in Bethel.

Janice Jordan, Bethel's assistant superintendent of schools, said Dr. Cosentino transformed the culture at both schools.

That is clearly her goal at Region 12.

"I feel strongly that all of the taxpayers are spending a lot of money -- some $23,000 per student -- and those students are not getting $23,000's in value of education," Dr. Cosentino said.

She said she has "a sense of urgency" about improving the region's schools.

She brought Internet technology specialist Karen Fildes with her from Bethel and plans to revise the schools' technology plan. Ms. Fildes started the Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences in Bethel.

Dr. Cosentino is establishing a committee to put structuring in place so consistency exists across the system, she said.

She said procedural practices are too disparate among the three elementary schools and she's hoping to rectify that.

She's already brought herself up to speed on the district's vital long-range planning and, while cautioning board members they don't want to "jump into this," believes action has to be taken toward implementing aspects of the plan with expediency.

"We're going to move forward," Dr. Cosentino said. "It's hold on because we're going fast."

Dr. Cosentino had a presence in the region earlier than July 1. She sat in on the teacher redistribution and new teacher placements to take affect in the 2012-13 school year throughout the district.

She said she plans to move quickly to deal with issues related to the region's declining student population before legislators step in demanding consolidation with other regions -- something that seems imminent with the state's new school reforms, she said.

"You don't want legislators telling you how to run your school system," Dr. Cosentino said. "We have to be proactive."

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322

"We're going to move forward. It's hold on because we're going fast."

Dr. Pat Cosentino

Region 12 superintendent of schools