In a unanimous vote, the New Canaan Board of Education appointed Deputy Superintendent Mary Kolek as their new leader on Monday evening. Kolek, who has been with New Canaan schools for nearly a decade, will take her new post on July 1 as David Abbey retires after 19 years of service to the district.
Described as a “leader, visionary, motivator and an accomplished professional” by Steven Swerdlick, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources, Kolek has deep roots in Connecticut and began her career in South Windsor as a special education teacher. Prior to coming to New Canaan, Kolek served as a high school principal at for six years.
at the end of academic year this past fall. Since, the Board of Education and a search committee consisting of teachers, parents, and community members Feedback from nearly 1,000 community members was reviewed and considered and ultimately, the board felt Kolek embodied the qualities most sought after.
“We wanted the world, and she had it all,” board member Penny Rashin said.
“One of the best predictors of performance is past performance,” board member Jim Kucharczyk said. “As board members, we’re often worried about complacency. I have no fear with Dr. Kolek, because I know that good enough will never be good enough.”
Kolek was approved with a unanimous vote and applause from both the board and community. When the superintendent search was underway, one comment from the community was that they wanted a “clone” of Abbey in his successor. Upon accepting the position, Kolek acknowledged this and said that while she is not a clone, she promises to keep her focus always on the students.
“I’m honored and privileged,” Kolek said, “to serve in a community that views education as a moral imperative.”