Landon: No Staples Principal Offer Yet

Published reports to the contrary, Greenwich middle school principal Shelley Somers has not been offered the principal’s job at Staples High School.

According to superintendent of schools Elliott Landon:

“The Greenwich School District sent out a press release a week in advance of the Westport Board of Education decision, with the assumption approval would be made. If the Board did not approve the appointment, the press release would not have been sent.

“Both she and I hope her candidacy is not jeopardized by this communication error.”

Staples seal

13 responses to “Landon: No Staples Principal Offer Yet

  1. Jim Farnen should be promoted to principal. He was a dean when I was at Staples and I wasn’t he easiest student but he never gave up on me. I just visited him after 10 years to thank him for just that. He loves Westport, he loves his students, he loves staples, and he is a walking example of integrity. In the short time I had under his guidance he taught me some of the most important life lessons I’ve ever received. Farnen is a true molder of men and Staples is lucky to have him. To bring in a principal that hasn’t spent time at staples or Westport would be a detriment to the Staples community. Gloria Rakovic loved Staples, John Brady loved Staples, John Dodig (although I don’t know him personally but from keep tabs on my hometown obviously adored Staples. Jim Farnen loves Staples and the amount of kids that he has taken from a bad situation and steered them into a bright future is immeasurable.

    If you’re reading this Jim, thank you

  2. Wendy Cusick

    Campaign to promote excellent educators from within the organization of Staples High or Westport School System. Why do you need to look elsewhere?? I agree with Mr.Kulich and Mr. Paul.

    • Morgan Patrick

      In addition to Jim Farnen, all current Staples teachers and administrators – including Rich Franzis, Pat Micinilio and Karyn Morgan – deserve recognition for making Staples the exceptional community that it is. While an outside hire will have MUCH to learn about Staples’ personality and the teachers and students that contribute to it, we are lucky to have such amazing Assistant Principals who will help facilitate that transition and continue the work they do behind the scenes every day!

  3. Gerry Kuroghlian

    Businesses searching for a CEO seek a person who is a proven leader in a field. A school like Staples deserves and demands excellent leadership. I would urge Westporters to google the name of the present candidate and make up their own minds if this is the candidate to head one of the best high schools in the state. Having worked with 7 principals over 43 years, I know how important the head of school is in determining a safe, supportive and motivating environment for students. On the surface, this search seems rushed.!

  4. Why has this whole principal search seemed to be so chaotic? Greenwich put out a press release saying she got the job? In which she was quoted as well?! But she is coming to Westport to meet parents and students next week and, I assumed, judging by a letter from the Sup’t office that parent and student feedback was being solicited and the BOE still has interview AND vote next week. She must think she has the job?

    What a mess!

    And she is the sole candidate? What is that about? In Round 2. Come on Westport. We require integrity, transparency and procedure in this search AND of all the candidates applying to fill the very large shoes of John Dodig. This role is an important leader in our community. We know how effective having someone like John has been….

    Time for an interim principal, while we do this properly.

  5. Morgan Patrick

    When Mr. Dodig employs the word “love” in reference to Staples and its students, you know that he means it, and you know that he has earned the right to use it because of the mark he’s made. I know it sounds cheesy, but honestly, I think the way a principal makes students and teachers feel is his or her most important contribution to a school district. Parents and taxpayers know about it, but only students and teachers really feel it for themselves. This is too important a decision not to rely heavily on students’ and teachers’ perspectives. While I’m not convinced an outside hire can grasp how that love has shaped the community in so quick a timeframe – as students and teachers can readily feel, etc – I do think we should trust the district in passing on a candidate with the potential to pick up where Mr. Dodig leaves off in that regard. Administrators are uniquely qualified to give that kind of foresight. I think we should remember that students and teachers are truly the ones who can judge how the impact of a principal’s devotion to a school will trickle down, and in any case we will not be able to gauge this right away. This decision is first and foremost about students and teachers and guidance counselors and staff and other administrators, then parents and the larger community. I respect the value and investment of parents in our schools and the important role they have, but I think we should trust the schools to have the best interests of students and teachers at heart when passing along a candidate.

  6. Loretta Santella Hallock

    Its hard to believe that we have to go outside to find a good candidate!

  7. Marybeth Clooney

    Shocking., what makes you think those on the inside are any good? Big assumption!

    • Morgan Patrick

      What makes you think they’re not? Big assumption!

      Just because the search involves outside candidates doesn’t mean inside ones aren’t qualified for different reasons?

  8. I hope you find a Principal who is visible, who teaches a class or two…
    Is this really a business? That would be atrocious.

  9. Gerry Kuroghlian

    Nancy,
    I never implied that schools were a business: however, in this case the business practice of head hunting would apply. Staples is and has been an outstanding high school with an amazing student body. These students deserve the best. I believe that a good search should start from within. In my 43 years at Staples, all principals save one interim came from the outside. The best principals are those who are honest, loving and supportive. I am very concerned about the past history of the proposed candidate as are many of the staff at Staples who are afraid to speak out as long as Dr Landon is at the top of the system..