New Milford picks Stephen Tracy as interim superintendent
NEW MILFORD — For Stephen Tracy, serving as New Milford’s interim superintendent will be like coming home.
Tracy’s first superintendent gig was in New Milford — he led the district from November 1985 to October 1993 — and he lived in the town with his wife and children for 18 years.
“I remember it as a wonderful, welcoming community (with) lots of opportunities for children and young people, and a very strong expectation on the part of parents that we would deliver a quality education and their children would be well cared for,” he said. “I remember that very fondly.”
The Board of Education appointed Tracy at a special meeting on Aug. 2 to lead the district as the board looks for a full-time superintendent to replace Josh Smith, who is taking the superintendent job in Region 15.
Smith announced in July that he would leave New Milford, a district in which he has worked for seven years, serving as the full-time superintendent since 2016. Tracy said the board is still working out when he will start the job.
“We are pleased that Dr. Tracy will be returning to New Milford,” board Chairman David Lawson said in a release. “He brings a very strong skill set and has the experience to lead the district in this time of transition.”
Tracy’s career began in Lakeland Public Schools in New York, where he worked as a history teacher. He was assistant superintendent in Farmington before becoming New Milford’s superintendent.
Tracy also worked as the senior vice president at Edison Schools from October 1993 to September 2007, in addition to serving as Derby’s superintendent from 2008 to July 2012. He then become superintendent for Unified District 2, which educates students in foster and residential care in the state, until June 2015.
Most recently, he acted as interim superintendent in Fairfield and New London.
During Tracy’s tenure in New Milford, the district brought computers into the schools, something that is now viewed as “ho-hum,” he said.
“Back in those days, that was seen as innovation,” Tracy said. “But what does not change is the importance of young people getting opportunities and a first-rate education.”
Tracy is not planning any major shakeups as he steps into the role.
“As an interim, I think the key obligation is to support the principals and the teachers and to sustain the work they’re already doing,” he said. “This is not an assignment where one is expected to change the world because by definition this is temporary.”