Superintendent Landon announces his retirement after 2015-16 school year

Max Biblicoff, News Editor

Just months after Staples principal John Dodig announced his plans to retire, another public figure in the Westport school system, superintendent Elliott Landon, has announced his intentions to retire as well. Landon announced via email earlier this month that the upcoming 2015-16 school year will be his last.

In regards to Landon’s announcement and finding a future replacement for the job, the Westport Board of Education [BOE] said that it will “engage a search firm with a national scope that has worked with high performing districts such as ours.”

Director of Secondary Education, James D’Amico, whose job it is to oversee curriculum and programs in grades 6-12, described the interaction he has had with Landon throughout his years as superintendent.

“I’ve only been in this position for this school year, but I have known Dr. Landon since 2001, when he hired me as a social studies teacher at Staples,” he said. “He has always been very supportive of changes to our programs that will help students develop skills and attributes that they will need for life beyond high school.”

Landon, who spent 16 years as superintendent, was recently named Superintendent of the Year by the Connecticut PTA. Landon was also recently granted a 2.6 percent raise, which made him the highest paid superintendent in the state.

On the aspects of the job that he will miss, Landon said, “[I’ll miss] the interaction with my professional colleagues at the administrative, teaching and support levels throughout the school system as we have worked together to provide the optimal educational experiences.”

He added that he will have no part in the search for a new superintendent, as it is exclusively a function of the BOE.

Michael Gordon, the BOE Chairman, explained that in the search process, the BOE will seek the input of all community members including students and parents.

“The [BOE] will be doing thorough planning for the search over the next few months, and I expect that we will kick off formally early in the fall,” Gordon said.

Gordon, who only recently took on the role of Chairman this year, has served on the BOE for several years and has experienced the impact that Landon has had on the district.

“In Elliott’s 16 years as superintendent, our schools and students have achieved in every subject area, and our offerings in and out of the classroom have increased dramatically,” Gordon said.

Current Staples sophomores will be seniors when a new superintendent replaces Landon. Although the impact on the school year might not seem direct, sophomore George Goldstein ’17 expressed how things could feel different.

“It could potentially change some major events,” he said. “Who knows what new rules the person might bring with them.”

While Landon might be saying goodbye to his job as superintendent, he isn’t necessarily hanging up his coat for good.

Exploring potential job opportunities in labor relations and governmental relations, Landon said, “I have a number of irons in the fire.”