Photo by Sophie Casey '20
During a virtual meeting on Apr. 2, the BOE unanimously voted to designate the Westport superintendent position to Thomas Scarice, who has been superintendent of Madison Public Schools since 2012. At the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year, he will replace interim superintendent Dr. David Abbey.
“This is incredibly humbling to have this opportunity in Westport,” Scarice said upon his appointment, understanding the newfound challenges he will face overseeing Westport schools during the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite Scarices’ hiring occurring at a tumultuous time, the BOE asserts that he is the most qualified candidate to fulfill the responsibilities of a superintendent.
“Scarice is a highly regarded educational leader,” BOE Chair Candice Savin said. “He brings a wealth of experience and a strong legacy of accomplishment to Westport. Tom […] recognizes the excellence of Westport Public Schools and embraces the challenges guiding our district to an even brighter future.”
The Board is satisfied with the conclusion of the search, but they faced trepidation when formulating a date to announce the hiree due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The official disclosure of Scarices’ appointment was initially Mar. 16, and even with the date change, there was still concern as to whether the timing was appropriate.
The transition to online learning and indefinite cancellation of school has caused students to express concern in regards to the change in superintendents.
“I think it would be more effective to have the same superintendent handle the [COVID-19] issue[s], since it is already enough of a transition for students,” Kate Enquist ’20 said. “But, the announcement could provide a distraction of happier news during this difficult time.”
Westport is facing preternatural circumstances as a result of the pandemic; however, the BOE is confident Scarice is a qualified and compassionate affiliate to the community.
“The selection of Scarice deeply aligns with the community profile created by over 600 voices and the vision of the Westport Board of Education,” Savin said.
BOE Vice Chair Jeanne Smith agrees that Scarice is a desirable leader for the aftermath of the pandemic. “[…] He possesses the educational leadership excellence we need right now to take us into the future.”