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Abbey to Retire as New Canaan Schools Superintendent

A 25-year member of the school system, its superintendent for eight years, Dr. David Abbey will be sorely missed, district officials say.

School officials announced Wednesday that Dr. David Abbey, superintendent of the New Canaan district since 2003, is retiring at the end of this academic year.

According to a press release issued by Nick Williams, chairman of the town Board of  Education, Abbey will have been a 25-year veteran of the public schools system by the time of his retirement and will be “missed for his unsurpassed honesty and integrity, great intelligence, consummate people skills, thoughtful leadership, tremendous support for teachers, students, and parents, and his wonderful sense of humor.”

“Dr. Abbey has also been an outstanding communicator and has worked collaboratively with all of the school system's stakeholders, including the town's governing bodies and the community at large, to assure that New Canaan's students receive the best possible education while, simultaneously, the town's resources are managed prudently,” Williams said.

After joining the school system in 1987 as special education director, Abbey in 1991 became principal of New Canaan High School, a position he held for six years.

Some highlights of the district, Williams said, under Abbey's stewardship include:

  • All-day kindergarten
  • Chinese language studies
  • Expansion of visual and performing arts
  • Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools
  • Expanded use of technology
  • Oustanding athletic program

“New Canaan's already high student achievement continued to increase under Dr. Abbey, often reaching the highest levels in the state,” Williams said.

The rest of Williams’ press release follows:

Along with exceptional student performance in many areas, Dr. Abbey has been a powerful advocate for nurturing a school culture that provides all students with opportunities to be successful in the fields of endeavor they wish to pursue. He has consistently and with great success supported a climate that appreciates and values everyone in the school community. At the same time, Dr. Abbey's extensive communication and collaboration with New Canaan's governing bodies has played a vital role in achieving school system budgets that has enabled the school district to continue to advance its high quality instruction while allocating the town's resources effectively in these difficult economic times.

It is not surprising, therefore, that New Canaan is a community with a first-class school district. Dr. Abbey has encouraged everyone - especially teachers - to collaborate, to be creative, to be sensitive, and to aspire to meet and exceed New Canaan's high expectations. As New Canaan's First Selectman said on Channel 11 last year, "New Canaan has a Superintendent of Schools second to none."  n June 2010, the Board of Education, the Selectmen, the Board of Finance, and the Town Council sponsored a large ad in the New Canaan Advertiser thanking the teachers and administrators for the state and national recognition of our students' accomplishments. No one deserves this recognition more than Dr. Abbey.

The Board of Education recognizes that the search for Dr. Abbey's successor will be a challenging one. The planning of the process by which the Board will select a new superintendent has already begun in earnest. In the coming weeks, the Board will share that process with the community and will welcome the input of all the school system's constituencies.

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