The search is over. The Easton, Redding, and Region 9 boards of education voted unanimously last night to appoint Dr. Rydell Harrison their next superintendent of schools. Currently the superintendent of Watertown, Conn. Public Schools, Harrison was selected from a pool of over 30 qualified applicants. He is expected to assume his new job as ER9 superintendent at the end of the month.
The Personnel Search Steering Committee, under the direction of Christopher Hocker (Redding) and Randy Hicks (Easton), worked throughout the month of July. At the outset of the process, stakeholder forums were held to gather feedback from building staff, administrators, parents, and the broader community. The steering committee reviewed each application packet, held initial interviews with six candidates, and conducted second round interviews with the three finalists.
Each finalist interview was attended and evaluated by all 21 board members. Harrison holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a master’s degree in divinity from Duke University, and a bachelor’s degree in music from Rutgers University.
Before relocating to Connecticut in 2017, Dr. Harrison served as a teacher, building level administrator, central office staff member, and as an assistant superintendent in the high performing school district of Chapel Hill-Carrboro in North Carolina.
“Dr. Harrison’s experience and insights are exactly what we need,” Jon Stinson, chair of the Easton Board of Education states. “He has a deep appreciation for all of the challenges we face, and he’s committed to building relationships with teachers, students, parents, and the community. I’m thrilled that we were able to find such a perfect fit.”
Chris Parkin, chair of the Redding Board of Education stated, “I am excited to welcome Dr. Harrison to ER9. His warmth, energy, and vision for the future of education are perfectly suited for our communities’ continuing commitment to educate the whole child.”
Todd Johnston of Easton, chair of the Region 9 Board of Education stated, “We had a very large group of candidates from inside and outside the state with a wide range of experiences and diversity. Dr. Harrison was consistently at the top of the list in each round. He has experience in all the areas our districts are facing: re-opening planning, distance learning, diversity/equity/inclusion, special education insourcing, declining enrollment, and budgeting.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Harrison join us in ER9. We look forward to Dr. Harrison working with the students, teachers, administrators, staff, and parents as we start school in the fall. Dr. Harrison’s official start date is being negotiated. The boards were assisted by Joe Erardi, Ph.D., of JE Consulting in the search.”
Dr. Thomas McMorran, former ER9 superintendent, announced his retirement in the spring. A search committee was appointed, and Dr. Stephanie Pierson Ugol was named interim ER9 superintendent when McMorran retired and the search was on. Read more about Harrison and the search for a new superintnedent here.
This is a critical time for the ER9 school as they plan for a safe reopening due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The task was made made more difficult with last week’s Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked out power In Easton and Redding for days. Watch this space for school reopening plans and more about the new school superintendent.