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Hartford Posts Superintendent's Job; One Candidate Ready To Apply

Vanessa De La Torre

January 21, 2011

Tim Sullivan doesn't want to seem overeager, but he can't help it.

There is no subtlety in his desire to succeed Steven Adamowski as the city's next school superintendent.

While a superintendent search often is cloaked in confidentiality, Sullivan, the principal of Greater Hartford Classical Magnet School, has been making his case openly for at least two months.

Finally, this week he gets to make it official.

"Just putting the finishing touches on some stuff, but I'm ready to go," Sullivan said Thursday, a day after the school system posted the superintendent's job internally. District employees have until Jan. 28 to submit an application, although Sullivan was prepared to offer his by Friday.

"I'm not afraid of applying and not getting it, because I'm staying in Hartford," said Sullivan, 45. "I'm 100 percent committed to staying in Hartford."

At recent public forums on the search, which Sullivan attended, some residents said they wanted a leader who wouldn't consider Hartford as a stepping stone.

Sullivan grew up in the Blue Hills neighborhood, now lives in the city's West End and has worked in Hartford schools for 22 years, the past 61/2 as Classical's principal. Since he first became an administrator in 2000, then assistant principal at Bulkeley High School, Sullivan said he has worked toward his ultimate goal: being the city's superintendent of schools.

The board of education expects to vote on a new schools chief on Feb. 15, presuming that the chosen candidate is from within the school system. If the board's search committee recommends no one, a national search would begin.

Sullivan's mother-in-law, board member Elizabeth Brad Noel, is not on the committee and has recused herself from board matters involving the search.

Adamowski plans to retire this summer after spending five years in Hartford leading an overhaul of the city's schools.

On Thursday, Sullivan said it was crucial to carry on Adamowski's efforts in the coming years, but with more involvement from staff, students and parents so that "the community embraces the reform at the family level, not just the leadership level."

Right now, he said, there appears to be a perception in the city that the school system is divided into great schools and ones that are not great, which feeds frustration.

At Classical, a grades 6-12 liberal arts magnet that draws both suburban and city students, only one out of 10 students who apply through the district's open-choice lottery system are picked to attend, Sullivan said.

"For every family that is ecstatic they got in, there are nine others that are disappointed they didn't," said Sullivan, who started his Hartford career in 1989 as a teacher at Weaver High School. "We need to make sure that every school is perceived as a great school. We don't want any child to feel that they're a second-class citizen because they didn't win the lottery."

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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