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Stamford Superintendent To Retire After Tumultuous School Year

Stamford Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton will be retiring, effective Jan. 1.
Stamford Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton will be retiring, effective Jan. 1. Photo Credit: File

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Stamford Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton announced her decision to retire effective Jan. 1, 2016, in an announcement at the district's website and at a Board of Education meeting Tuesday.

In her statement, Hamilton cited the problems in the past year, since the arrest of a female teacher at Stamford High School on charges of having a sexual relationship with a male student.

Here is Hamilton's full statement:

"The violation of public trust created by the abuse of a student at Stamford High school, and all of the events that have followed, have led to the diminished trust and perception of Stamford Public Schools by our community and has distracted attention away from our primary focus of preparing students for higher education and success," the statement said.

"As superintendent, the day-to-day focus should be on students: ensuring effective leadership is in place; continuing to close the achievement gap; managing a $3 million budget cut; trying not to reduce our teaching staff; and planning for our increased enrollment challenges, as well as building a new school.

"Instead, over the past several months attention has been interrupted and shared the focus. Because I believe the children of Stamford deserve undivided attention, I am announcing my retirement, effective January 1, 2016," the statement said.

"This timeframe should allow the Board sufficient time to conduct the comprehensive search this district needs to be sure Stamford gets the best Superintendent for our students and allows for a proper transition. I remain committed to ensuring the work of this district continues to move forward while that search and transition takes place."

The public scandal began last July when English teacher Danielle Watkins of Norwalk was arrested. She 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 throughout the 2013-14 school year.

Principal Donna Valentine and Vice 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 the allegations involving Watkins. Each was granted accelerated rehabilitation on Nov. 19, which will allow them to have no criminal record if they have no further legal problems.

But earlier this month, Hamilton announced she was seeking to fire Valentine and Nordin as well as assistant principal Angela Thomas Graves.

Assistant Superintendent Michael Fernandes also resigned in the wake of the scandal.

On Tuesday, the Stamford School District also announced that Raymond D. Manka, an assistant principal at Norwalk High School, will take over as Stamford High principal on July 1. Read more about that here on the Daily Voice.

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