In reflecting on what's best about the New Canaan school system, who was elected chair at the Nov. 21 meeting, said it is the people committed to education who are responsible for its success.
Hobbs credited the New Canaan community for their financial support, as well as their volunteer efforts and noted the enthusiastic attendance at school events from the arts and academic fairs to athletic contests. "It's important to recognize that, top notch schools support the community" as well she said, "they contribute to real estate values and are an investment in all our futures."
First and foremost any success is due to the system's teachers, she said who are, "a very caring, professional and dedicated group." The principals and their staffs, the administrators and Board of Education members, are also crucial said Hobbs, who has an extensive background in education including fifteen years as a principal in the Greenwich schools, and as the founding headmistress of the independent .
, who has announced that he will step down at the end of this school year, has shown, "dedication and high integrity" in his work in New Canaan and has worked hard to ensure that the system's teachers have the resources and support essential for a quality education, she said.
Two key challenges ahead for and .
The school budget, which will be presented to the town boards in early 2012, is a year-round effort, spearheaded by , Hobbs said.
The , about 60% of the town's total budget. said the percentage has been consistent over the years, a figure she said is also in line with peer towns in the area.
Hobbs said with the budget the goal is always, "looking to make sure any inefficiencies throughout the school system can be removed and made more efficient," while, "keeping the classroom intact."
Regarding the superintendent search, Hobbs said they expect to announce their choice for a consultant very shortly. The process will be similar to that undertaken last year when was hired to succeed as NCHS Principal, she said. Focus groups with various constituencies, an online survey and meetings are all planned.
The goal is to have the new superintendent in place two months prior to Abbey's departure, which is planned for July 1, 2012.