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Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District finds replacement for Scanlon

Date: 4/11/2011

April 11, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District (HWRSD) recently announced that it has found its replacement for Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Donna Scanlon.

Tim Connor, who currently serves the department as the associate principal at Minnechaug Regional High School, will take over for Scanlon, who is retiring in June after 10 years in the position.

"It's something similar to what I currently do at the high School," Connor said. "It gives me an opportunity to work at the district level and gives me greater oversight of the curriculum."

According to a press release by HWRSD, Connor, who has been employed by the district since 1999, already has a great deal of experience dealing with the kinds of responsibilities he will have as the new director of curriculum and instruction.

Before joining the administration at Minnechaug, Connor was an assistant principal at West Springfield High School.

Superintendent M. Martin O'Shea said Connor's prior experience in the district made him an ideal candidate for the job.

"Tim Connor brings a wealth of experience in curriculum development and teacher evaluation," O'Shea said. "He will bring a great ability to build effective teams. He's a tremendous facilitator and a great listener."

Curriculum and instruction were major focuses of his position as associate principal at Minnechaug, as well as teacher assessment and professional development, according to the district's release.

With the majority of his experience being in high school curriculum, Connor said he plans to turn to help from the district in formulating educational plans for the lower grades.

"I'm going to do it collaboratively," Connor said. "We have excellent teachers in this district from kindergarten through 12th grade and I plan to work closely with the elementary and middle school principals. When I first start, I'm going to try to spend more time familiarizing myself with those grades."

School Committee Chairman Peter Salerno said in the district's press release, "With Tim's years of experience in many different administrative facets at Minnechaug, the selection is a great one and he will continue to serve the staff, children and parents of the district well in his new position."

Connor was educated locally, achieving a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and his masters in education administration at Springfield College.

O'Shea said Connor, who takes on his new responsibilities on July 1, will have his work cut out got him in his first year.

"The big task he'll have in front of him is to implement the common core standards into our curriculum," O'Shea explained.

Common core standards are federal education guidelines designed to create a consistent, statewide framework in order to better prepare students for college and/or the workforce.

According to Connor, HWRSD, along with the rest of the Commonwealth, is in a good place heading into the transitional period.

"We are very fortunate in Massachusetts because many of the key authors of the common core standards were representatives of the state," Connor said. "The percentage of overlap in [English Language Arts] and math are very high. Across the state, we're in good shape. There's some tweaking to do, but we are very prepared."

The deadline to implement the common core standards will give Connor approximately a year to work.

"I believe our curriculum will have to be lined up with federal standards by the fall of 2012, so he is going to be very busy over the next year," O'Shea said.

According to Connor, the first step is getting the teachers familiar with the new standards.

"Phase one is going to be to get the common core standards into the hands of the teachers," Connor said. "I plan to develop a leadership team to help roll out the changes. That team will consist of teachers and principals, as well as myself.

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