After five years at the Connecticut Science Center — raising money, overseeing construction of a new building, planning exhibits and even changing the organization's name — Theodore S. Sergi has decided it's time to go.
So, shortly after the center opens next spring, Sergi will leave as its president and CEO and take a few trips with his wife.
"It's time to do this," said Sergi, a former education commissioner for the state. Sergi came to the center planning to stay just two or three years, and ended up deciding to stay until the center opened. "This is about greater expectations of the next generation of leaders. I spent my whole education career preaching great expectations rather than hanging on."
Sergi said he intends to remain active at the center.
The center's board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to appoint Matt Fleury, Sergi's deputy, to succeed him on April 1.
The $164 million science center is in its final stages of development. Its private fundraising goals have largely been met, the building with the iconic "magic carpet" roof — once broken, now fixed — is largely enclosed, and the interior finishing work is underway. By February, exhibits should begin making their way inside. No opening date has been set, but it will be sometime after April 1, Sergi said.
Sergi and Fleury came to the science center in 2003 when its new building in Hartford was just a concept. Board member Cheryl Chase and board Chairman Henry McKinnell spoke well of both men Thursday. Chase said the board thought hiring from within the organization made the most sense.
"Because we had such depth of talent, truly, with Matt, we felt it didn't make any sense to go to an outside search firm," Chase said.
Fleury is a native of Manhattan who grew up in Massachusetts. A graduate of Charter Oak State College, he worked first in radio before moving to corporate communications. Before joining the science center in 2003, he worked at the Capital City Economic Development Authority set up to revitalize Hartford. A Hartford resident, he has a graduate degree from the University of Connecticut School of Business and is married to local television news anchor Irene O'Connor.
Fleury stressed that the board's decision was all about sticking with what has worked.
"We have continuity here, we have a plan that we're sticking with, and we have a team that's been built to deliver that," Fleury said. "The vision, the direction is very much the same."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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