Paddyfote earns high grade as superintendent

JeanAnn Paddyfote, New Milford Superintendent of Schools
JeanAnn Paddyfote, New Milford Superintendent of SchoolsContributed Photo

Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote again has received an excellent evaluation from the New Milford Board of Education.

This year's annual review produced the highest cumulative rating for the town's superintendent of schools received during her career as New Milford's schools chief executive.

Sixty-seven percent of the ratings "substantially exceed standards" and 33 percent "meet standards."

Paddyfote has served the New Milford school district since 1981, including the past 10 years as superintendent.

Board members praised her handling of the closing of John Pettibone School and the reconfiguring of grades in the district's remaining schools.

"With the transition, Dr. Paddyfote was handed a task that was unprecedented in the district," board chairwoman Angela Chastain wrote. "She has not only excelled at the task, but has written the `how-to' manual that will serve not only New Milford but districts throughout the state."

Paddyfote was lauded for her fiscal management by five board members, including David Shaffer, with four members finding she met standards in developing and presenting realistic budgets.

"She has a firm understanding of the fiscal situations in running the schools," Shaffer wrote.

Not all comments on Paddyfote's performance were positive.

Board member Theresa Volinski cited low test scores while saying "more needs to be done to improve our ratings and our ranking."

"I am confident that this can be achieved with more focus on the removal of educators that fall short of doing their job," Volinski wrote.

Criticism also came from board member John Spatola.

"Even though enrollment is down, school budgets from 2004 to 2014 have increased 33 percent," Spatola wrote. "The graduation rate is not acceptable, staff numbers have remained consistent and test scores continue to be dismal."

"Dr. Paddyfote has many positive attributes," he added. "Her academic knowledge, governance experience, organizational skills... When she retires, the town of New Milford and its students will experience an enormous loss."

At its May 5 meeting, the board authorized Chastain and the board counsel to enter into negotiations with Paddyfote on a new three-year contract.

Her present salary is $200,000.