STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford High School has a new leader after a rocky year that saw the principal and assistant principal arrested and the school system moving to fire them as part of the fallout from a teacher sex scandal.
Raymond D. Manka, who is currently an assistant principal at Norwalk High School, will take over the reins at Stamford High School on July 1, it was announced Tuesday.
Manka will take over from Interim Principal Tony Pavia, who has been serving in that capacity since late February.
“I am pleased to welcome Ray back to Stamford Public Schools,” Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton said Tuesday. “His extensive academic credentials and experience at large area high schools, including Stamford High, will serve him well in his mission to lead Stamford High with a priority of building trust and respect among students, staff, parents, and community members.”
Manka has 16 years of experience in education and was previously part of Stamford Public Schools for five years, serving as assistant principal at both Stamford High and Westhill High schools. Before serving in the assistant principal roles, he was an administrative intern, a high school biology teacher, and a sixth grade science teacher. Manka has extensive experience in scheduling, staff supervision, professional development, and peer mentorship program development, Hamilton said.
He has graduate degrees from both the University of Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in educational leadership at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, with expected completion in 2016.
The interview process during the monthlong executive search included teachers, high school and middle school parents, staff members, administrators, a student, community members, Board of Education members, and Hamilton.
In addition, search committee members conducted a site visit at Norwalk High School. The visit, which included speaking with students and staff at the school, confirmed the committee’s selection, Hamilton said.
Former Stamford High Principal Donna Valentine and Assistant Principal Roth Nordin were arrested in October and charged with one misdemeanor count of failing to report to the state Department of Children and Families an allegation that English teacher Danielle Watkins had carried on a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student throughout the 2013-14 school year.
Valentine and Nordin were granted accelerated rehabilitation on Nov. 19, which will allow them to have no criminal record if they have no further legal problems.
Watkins, a 32-year-old Norwalk resident who was arrested last July, was sentenced to five years in prison in March as part of a plea deal for having sex with the student and supplying him with marijuana.
The Stamford School District has taken steps to fire both Valentine and Nordin, as well as Vice Principal Angela Thomas Graves. Read more about that here on the Daily Voice.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.