School district appoints first-ever assistant superintendent of special services

Ann Paul, Wilton Public Schools' special services director, was appointed the district's first-ever assistant superintendent of special services.

Ann Paul, Wilton Public Schools’ special services director, was appointed the district’s first-ever assistant superintendent of special services.

Ann Paul, Wilton Public Schools’ director of special services, will be the district’s first-ever assistant superintendent of special services.

The Board of Education unanimously voted to appoint Ms. Paul to the new position during its June 26 meeting.

“I am extremely pleased to continue my work in Wilton wiht students, families and staff,” Ms. Paul to The Bulletin via email.

“I very much appreciate the support from the Board of Education for the efforts of the special services staff and administration.”

As the school district’s special services director for seven years, Ms. Paul has been responsible for overseeing the district’s special education programming.

Ms. Paul has also assisted the Wilton Security Task Force in discussions about mental health and school security.

The education board voted to elevate Ann Paul from director of special services to assistant superintendent of special services, said Superintendent Kevin Smith told The Bulletin, “in recognition of the growing complexity of the responsibilities and how they interface with some of the major operations of the school system.”

According to Dr. Smith, Wilton Public Schools’ special services programs serve approximately 250 students or a little more than 12% of the total student body.

“In addition to the growth in number of students being served, there is also growth in the number of students with very complex needs,” said Dr. Smith.

“Wilton, like surrounding communities, has seen an increase in the number of students who are experiencing very complex difficulties that make accessing their education very challenging.”

In order to help special needs students succeed, said Dr. Smith, “a retooling of our staff and, in some cases, extensive support in the classroom environment” is required.

“Ann is responsible for working with her team to understand these issues and work with families and the Wilton Public Schools staff to plan educational programs that are responsive to the needs of students served by the special services department,” said Dr. Smith.

Given the increase in complexity of needs, he said, Ms. Paul’s is responsible for reviewing programs, planning programming adaptations, providing professional development and allocating resources “that will best meet the needs of students.”

In order to accomplish this, said Dr. Smith, Ms. Paul will work more closely with:

  • Charles Smith, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
  • Ken Post, director of financial planning and operations.
  • Susan Paley, human resources director.
  • Mathew Hepfer, director of technology.
  • All of the building teams.

“Ann is also responsible for supervising a newly established position, district safe school coordinator, whose responsibility will be to work with administrators and staff to create and maintain safe school climates in each of the buildings,” explained Dr. Smith.

“It is the goal of the district, under Ann’s leadership, to provide the best special services programming possible.”

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  • Mama L.

    Who is taking Ann Paul’s former position of Director of Special services? Will that be filled?

    • Really

      So she gets a promotion and a big fat raise for doing essentially the same job she had been doing all along. I guess our taxes are not high enough.

      Maybe this is where the 500,000 savings switching to gas is going to go.

    • Really

      Good point about the former position, I guess we get to spend more money by hiring someone to do that job, so now we will have 2 people doing the job that one person used to do.

  • m cam

    Under the partial investigation by the Board of Finance that apparently had to wait months for a simple answer and after other residents had previously asked for the same information without response from the Board of Ed and Superintendent’s office prior to the new superintendent’s start date, it was discovered that our district had NO policies, procedures, regulations or procedures,.. for special ed which policies, regulations procedures…are required by law.

    How does the person who was Dir of Sp Ed under this material deficiency get to be promoted to Asst Superintendent?
    Was she aware of it?
    Did she alert the Superintendent, BOE, and its legal counsel? If she did, when and in what way? If she did, why was it ignored? The law firm apparently represents around 60% of Conn BOEs; why wouldn’t it make certain that our educational administrators are working within legally required frameworks?

    In the absence of this required framework, were families, children, and the Town of Wilton put at risk? Were time tables met? Were services provided as required? Apparently, if certain due dates are missed, the BOE must offer a settlement to a family. Isn’t this scenario fraught with all sorts of issues?

    Without the framework, how could there be a reliable accounting to know whether services, responsibilities, communications, notifications,…were being performed in best practices manners?

    Without the framework, how would families know how to address issues, concerns, questions?

    Without the framework, how were settlement offers entered into? Who had the responsibility to accept them on behalf of the Town?

    Even with policies and regulations in place, there have been instances that the administration ‘added’ their own unwritten ‘requirements’ that were not part of the BOE policies and regulations, and these added ‘requirements’ negatively affected the students and their families without their knowledge, completely changing the implementation of BOE policies, procedures, and regulations without disclosure to students and their families and apparently without disclosure to the BOE.

    These added ‘requirements’ not approved by the BOE since they were not in the policies and procedures provided by the BOE severely limited students’ rights, protections, and expectations of fairness.

    One example, concerns or complaints according to BOE policies and procedures did not require that they be in writing; however, a longer term Dir of HR stated that unless it were in writing AND specifically stated, ‘this is a formal complaint’, nothing was placed in the personnel file. However, no where in the policies and regulations did it state that this wording was required.

    Not disclosing that this wording was ‘required’ by the HR department but not by the district policies and regulations is at least unfair if not disingenuous.

    Do we really require parents to have to call the HR Director personally to make certain that they written and provided policies and regulations are the only guiding principles and that the HR Director or administration has not added more or changed them? Is that an appropriate use of their time? Does that provide full and respectful disclosure? Does that allow a loophole in evaluating personnel?

    How easy is it to make certain that acting policies and regulations reflect those written and provided to parents and students and formally approved by the BOE? Why the discrepancy?

    This may be an explanation as to why almost the first response by administrators to concerns or complaints almost always has been, this is the first time we have heard about this or we’ve never had any complaints before…. when in fact many prior concerns had come forward. But, were those concerns and complaints disregarded because they did not comply with “requirements” that were not known or disclosed?

    So, is it just about the administration’s withheld definitions that determine whether a complaint is put in the file? Accordingly, we must then not accept any response or defense that says there exist no complaints in a file.

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