Proclaiming himself fully aware of Westport’s challenges — and eager to get started — Thomas Scarice was named tonight as Westport’s new superintendent of schools.
For the last 8 years, Scarice has served as superintendent in Madison — an affluent and high-achieving New Haven suburb.
But he’s no stranger to Fairfield County education. Prior to that post, Scarice was assistant superintendent of the Weston public schools.
Before their unanimous (and socially distant) online vote, the 7 Board of Education members praised the new schools’ head with enthusiasm and passion.
He was hailed as “a great communicator,” “intelligent,” “driven,” “innovative,” “a strategic thinker,” “warm” and “engaging.”
Interim superintendent David Abbey — who also was warmly praised for his leadership over the past year — called him a “thought leader.” In fact, Abbey said, “I follow him on Twitter.”
The board noted that even among a “truly exceptional pool” of candidates, Scarice stood out.
In his remarks, the new education leader acknowledged both the coronavirus crisis, and the difficulties Westport public schools have endured. (In the past two years, Coleytown Middle School was closed due to mold, and former superintendent Colleen Palmer resigned after a tumultuous 3-year tenure.)
But our recent national crisis, he said, underscore the crucial role that public schools play. Referencing both 9/11 and Sandy Hook, he noted that helping students in times like these are “part of my calling as an educator.”
Scarice thanked search consultant Joe Erardi, the Board of Education, Dr. Abbey (“an educational giant — a Yoda”), and praised the Westport staff he will soon lead.
Scarice — whose Twitter profile reads “Husband of Kerry, Father of Ella, Owen, and Gavin. Superintendent of schools. Mission driven to transform schooling. Child-centered is the only way I roll” — begins officially on July 1.