Ridgefield superintendent resigns

Dr. William Collins, the former superintendent of Ridgefield Public Schools, resigned in August.

Dr. William Collins, the former superintendent of Ridgefield Public Schools, resigned in August.

Contributed Photo / contributed

Superintendent Dr. William Collins resigned as the top administrator of Ridgefield Public Schools Monday night, the Board of Education has announced.

His resignation will go into effect Aug. 31.

In an email, Chairwoman Margaret Stamatis said Collins’ resignation was due to medical complications.

Stamatis indicated there had been nothing to suggest Collins’ health would impact his ability to work when he was hired.

“We had a comprehensive background check done,” she said. As much as his health could be looked into by the board due to privacy concerns, “there was no indication — it was unforeseen, to him and to us,” she said.

Collins has been out on medical leave since mid-May. In an email to parents at the time, he left Assistant Superintendent Craig Creller in charge of the district, and said he expected to be back at work within four to six weeks.

Collins was hired in December 2018, and took over as Superintendent in February of this year.

Stamatis said she has spoken to Dr. Collins since he announced he would step down, and said he is working on getting better.

“He’s really sad to be leaving the district. He had a lot of hopes for working in Ridgefield. This was not an easy decision on his part, but he decided he needed to focus on his health,” Stamatis said, adding “he liked our community and thought very highly of our administrators and staff, and students.”

Dr. JeanAnn Paddyfote has led the district since July 1, after taking over from Creller.

It is the second time she has held the position. Paddyfote was previously hired as interim superintendent from July 2018 through February 2019 when Dr. Collins took over.

Stamatis said Dr. Paddyfote will continue as Interim Superintendent “until further notice.”

In a phone interview Monday, Stamatis explained that as a retired superintendent in Connecticut, Paddyfote can only work 45 percent of a full-time position.

The board plans to stretch her time out in-district by having her work fewer days where possible, Stamatis said. “There isn’t a hard date that she has to leave,” Stamatis said.

The school board has not elected a personnel search committee to find a replacement superintendent for the district. Typically the board votes to elect all nine members as the committee. That last occurred in March 2018, after the board announced Dr. Karen Baldwin would resign amidst allegations of plagiarism.

The full board will meet Monday Aug. 26. Stamatis said the board plans to meet in executive session to discuss Collins’ resignation. “I anticipate that after that we will form a search committee, but I won’t know that until I have all the board in front of me,” Stamatis said.

“We hope the community will join us in approaching the situation with compassion, and maintain respect for Dr. Collins’ privacy,” Stamatis said. “As we move forward, the Board of Education will continue to keep the best interests of Ridgefield Public School students and staff at the forefront of our discussions and decision-making.”