September 22, 2020
The Madison Board of Education appointed Dr. Craig Cooke as the new Superintendent of Schools at its regular Board of Education meeting on September 22, 2020. The appointment follows a rigorous four-month search.
Dr. Cooke has been an educational leader in Connecticut for 24 years. He has been Superintendent of the Windsor Public Schools since 2013 and Assistant Superintendent there since 2009. He previously served as the Human Resources Director of Enfield Public Schools.
“I am extremely honored and excited to be the next Superintendent for Madison Public Schools,” Dr. Cooke said. “I feel my background and experience have positioned me to join Madison, a school district with such rich traditions and history of success. I look forward to working with the Board of Education and the entire community to move our schools forward.”
The Madison Board of Education used community input to focus its search. The input informed the Board of the qualities, characteristics and experiences community stakeholders prioritized for the next superintendent. The input drove the recruitment and selection of candidates, the questions and performance tasks posed to the candidates, the referencing process and the final decision. The Board unanimously agreed Dr. Cooke is the right candidate for Madison.
As a community that highly values education, the Madison Board sought candidates who have proven success in promoting high levels of student achievement while providing a balanced and well-rounded education. Dr. Cooke provided convincing evidence that he has been able to meet that target by sharing a 2020 accountability report for his district, which posted impressive index gains on test metrics as well as other indicators of success. He places high value in recruiting and retaining excellent staff, developing them, and trusting them. Ultimately, he expects demonstrated results and sustainability. His approach to academic program review is not to dismantle what’s working but rather to build upon that which is solid and successful.
Stakeholder input identified facilities upgrades and financial management as two priority challenges. Dr. Cooke holds a BS and a Masters of Business Administration and is highly regarded for his ethical, creative and strategic approach to financial challenges. The Superintendent-elect expressed both humility and excitement about the facilities challenges that lie ahead in Madison.
The Board responded in earnest to the stakeholder call for a Superintendent with outstanding personal qualities and interpersonal skills. The Board underscored the importance of relationships, communication and the ability to coalesce people around vision, goals and the resolution of issues. Dr. Cooke’s presence and references speak highly to his humility, intellect, integrity and genuineness. He was praised extensively by educators, parents, and community members for his ability to convene groups in search of common ground in planning and in problem solving.
The Madison Board has high confidence in Dr. Cooke’s readiness to transition to the District, even in these most challenging times. He is well versed in planning and adapting to the circumstances created by the ever-changing pandemic. His past equity work will be key in ensuring that all Madison students are prepared to live in a diverse world.
Dr. Cooke is highly respected by his peers. He is currently Vice-President of the Hartford Area Superintendents Association and was awarded the 2019 Superintendent of the Year Award by UCONN’s NEAG School of Education. He holds a PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Connecticut.
Craig Cooke lives in Old Saybrook with his wife, Kristen, and their three children. He will begin his duties as Superintendent on Dec. 7, 2020.
Questions may be directed to Katie Stein, Chair of the Madison Board of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 11, 2020
The Madison Board of Education is in the final stage of selection for the next Superintendent of the Madison Public Schools. A candidate of choice has been identified from a pool of 37 applicants.
The final stage of the selection process includes the verification of academic credentials, additional reference checks and a visit to the district. These activities are scheduled for completion over the next few weeks. An appointment and an announcement will follow.
The Board is appreciative of the staff and community members who contributed to the needs assessment. This information was used to guide the selection of a candidate who can best serve the needs of the district and community. The Board is eager to present the new superintendent and share the details about his qualifications and experiences.
August 14, 2020
The Madison Board of Education is pleased to share that it received 37 applications for the Superintendent position. The Board has reviewed the applications and will interview selected candidates in the upcoming week. The Board has chosen questions and tasks for the interviews that reflect the input of stakeholders and elicit knowledge, experience and potential that matches the needs of the Madison Public Schools and community. The search process remains on schedule. The Board hopes to appoint and announce a new superintendent by early October.
August 7, 2020
In June 2020, Dr. Elizabeth Osga, a consultant from New England School Development Council (NESDEC), facilitated focus group meetings. These groups represented parents, community members, administrators, faculty and staff; individual interviews of key stakeholders were also conducted. In addition, an online survey containing the same questions was made available through the District’s website. In all, approximately 350 people participated in the process. The information gathered through the outreach process was used as the basis to detail the qualities, characteristics, skills, knowledge and experience desired in a new Superintendent of Schools and to identify the pressing challenges ahead of them.
The Madison Board of Education subsequently reviewed and analyzed all of the input collected. This information was used to develop the Successful Candidate Profile. The Successful Candidate Profile will be used to guide the interview and selection process for the search for our new Superintendent. It might also be useful in guiding the successful candidate into the first year of service.
The Madison Board of Education wishes to thank all those in the community and schools who took the time to participate in the community needs assessment process. The Board looks forward to using the valuable insights gained through the needs assessment as candidates are considered for the position of Superintendent of Schools.
The Madison Board of Education
June 17, 2020
In April the Board of Education (BOE) began the Superintendent Search process following the resignation of current Superintendent of Schools Thomas Scarice. Since his announcement, the BOE has appointed an interim superintendent, Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote, and hired the New England School Development Council (NESDEC), an executive search firm, to guide the board through the search process.
In June NESDEC began the public outreach component of the search process. NESDEC consultant Dr. Elizabeth Osga conducted focus groups with teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and community members the week of June 8.
In addition to the focus groups, a public survey was launched on June 8. The survey is designed to obtain input from participants about the qualities, characteristics, skills, knowledge and experience that the new superintendent should possess in order to be a match for Madison’s needs. Over 200 individuals have participated in the survey to date and the public is reminded that the survey remains open through Friday, June 19.
Dr. Osga recently informed the board that there are already four applicants for the position of superintendent. While this is just the beginning of the process, Dr. Osga said the survey data, focus group participation, and the early handful of applicants are all indicators of a healthy start to the search process.
The BOE will continue to keep the public updated on the search process.
An integral part of the superintendent search process involves student, staff, parent and community member participation in our online survey. The survey is designed to obtain input from participants about the qualities, characteristics, skills, knowledge and experience that the new superintendent should possess in order to be a match for Madison’s needs. Participants are also asked to provide input as to the immediate tasks and challenges the new superintendent should focus upon in his/her first year in the position.
All responses will be considered anonymous. The survey will be available online from June 8 through June 19.
Please consider participating in this outreach process. Your voice is valued and appreciated. Thank you for your involvement.
As most people in the community are aware, we have begun the process of searching for a new Superintendent of Schools. To that end, the Madison School District has engaged the services of the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) to assist in this important task.
Dr. Elizabeth Osga, a search consultant with NESDEC, will be assisting the Board of Education throughout the search process. As part of the process, NESDEC will be conducting a series of focus groups.
Focus groups are an important part of the process because they are designed to obtain the input of teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and community members about the attributes, experience and knowledge they believe the new superintendent should possess. The focus groups also provide an opportunity for participants to identify challenges upon which the new superintendent should concentrate.
Each focus group session will last approximately 1 – 1 ½ hours.
The scheduled focus group for parents and community members is Wednesday, June 10 at 7 p.m.
The parent and community member focus group will take place via Zoom.
The Madison Public School District and NESDEC hope that you will be able to participate. Please note that if you are not able to join in the online focus group, you can still provide input through an online survey which will be open via the Madison Public Schools website from June 8 through June 19. We thank you for your involvement.
May 27, 2020
The Board of Education is pleased to announce the hiring of the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) as its executive search firm. NESDEC will help guide the board’s Superintendent Search Committee through the search for and selection of a new superintendent for Madison Public Schools.
NESDEC has been serving New England school districts since 1946 and has conducted over 600 successful executive searches since its inception. The MPS NESDEC team will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Osga, a former Connecticut educator. MPS Superintendent Search Committee Chair Kirk Barneby said both NESDEC and Dr. Osga come highly recommended.
“The team at NESDEC is fantastic,” Barneby said. “We are thrilled to have someone as experienced as Dr. Osga guiding us through this process.”
The committee received and reviewed 14 proposals before making a decision. The NESDEC team, led by Dr. Osga, will begin working with the search committee on May 27,2020. All costs associated with hiring an executive search firm will come out of the current year budget.
May 6, 2020
The Board of Education is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote as Interim Superintendent of Madison Public Schools. Dr. Paddyfote will fill the role following the departure of current Superintendent Thomas Scarice on July 1, 2020.
Dr. Paddyfote has over 45 years of experience in public education. She spent 36 years with New Milford Public Schools, holding various administrative positions including Superintendent of Schools, Interim Superintendent of Schools, and Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. She has an extensive background in special education, both as a special education teacher and as the Director of Pupil Personnel & Special Services for New Milford Public Schools, a position she held for 21 years.
Following her retirement from New Milford Public Schools, Dr. Paddyfote held interim superintendent positions at Avon Public Schools and Ridgefield Public Schools. Board of Education Chair Katie Stein said Dr. Paddyfote comes highly recommended.
“The Board of Education is very pleased to welcome Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote to Madison Public Schools,” said Stein. “She brings with her a wealth of administrative experience in public education and special education. We are thrilled to have such a respected and experienced administrator in place to lead our district in these challenging times.”
Dr. Paddyfote said she looks forward to her future position with Madison Public Schools.
“I am excited to serve as Interim Superintendent of Madison Public Schools,” she said. “The district has an outstanding reputation and I am eager to work collaboratively with all stakeholders. We are in unprecedented times and over the summer we need to ensure our students, staff, and parents are well prepared for what learning will look like in the 20-21 school year. Those next steps are undefined and will become clearer this summer. I also look forward to working in partnership with the Board of Education to ensure there is a smooth transition in leadership.”
April 23, 2020
The Superintendent Search Committee is currently meeting on a weekly basis. On April 22, the committee formally began the search for an interim superintendent. The interim will fill the role while the committee looks for a new permanent superintendent.
The committee also decided to move forward with using an executive search firm to assist with finding a new superintendent. Using an executive search firm is standard practice when filling a position like this and prior Madison boards of education have relied on search firms to find new superintendents in the past. Any costs associated with hiring an executive search firm will come out of the current year budget.
Statement from the Board of Education Regarding Superintendent Search Process
The Board of Education (BOE) met on April 7, 2020 to formally accept Thomas Scarice’s resignation as Superintendent of Madison Public Schools.
The board then formed a superintendent search committee. The committee, comprised of all nine board members, will determine the process for filling the position and will consciously seek input from stakeholders including faculty, community members, and parents throughout the search.
As this process gets underway, the board is committed to protecting the excellence in education we have here in Madison. More information will be shared with the public in the coming weeks and months.
Chair, Madison Board of Education