Seymour Names New Superintendent of Schools

christinesyriac1.jpgby Tony Spinelli
Christine Syriac, the town’s associate superintendent of schools, was selected by the Board of Education Monday night to be the next superintendent.

The board voted 7-2 for Syriac to replace MaryAnne Mascolo, when she retires in June 2012.


Syriac is scheduled to take over next July.

“I think my priority will be I want to keep our focus on student learning. Student learning is what education is all about, so that will be my primary area of focus,” Syriac said following the vote, which came during a brief executive session after a regular meeting of the board.

Syriac’s contract and pay package were not discussed Monday. The board has not yet started negotiating the contract.

Syriac was the only candidate interviewed, said Edward Strumello, chairman of the board. The board looked “inside” the district first and Syriac stepped up to the plate, he said.

The board decided to make its selection earlier, rather than later, because Syriac is a top administrative talent and the district feared it would lose her, Strumello said.

“We have one we thought was very good,” Strumello said.

The board has an advantage in choosing Syriac because it has seen her work for a number of years, and knows she is qualified by observing her in action, said Bruce Baker, a member of the board.

“We know she’s good because we have watched her,” Baker said.

The two members who voted against the motion were Yashu Putorti and James Garofolo. They did not specify during the meeting why they voted no. They left the meeting before the Valley Indy could speak with them.

Syriac lives in Bethlehem and has been with the district since 2004, when she began work here as principal of Seymour Middle School.

She has been the district’s associate superintendent since 2007, and counts among her achievements the coordination of all district educational programs and supervision of system-wide testing programs.

She also prepares state reports and administers district grant writing, she wrote in her resume.

Syriac holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Framingham State College, Framingham, Mass., a Master of Science in School Counseling from Central Connecticut State University, a 6th Year Educational Leadership Program certification from Central Connecticut State University, and Executive Leadership Program certification from the University of Connecticut.

Christine Syriac
She is a member of the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Connecticut Association of Principals, and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents.

Mascolo told the school community in January she is retiring effective June 2012 to spend long overdue time with her loved ones.