The Hartford superintendent of schools announced on Thursday she is stepping down from her position.
Dr. Beth Schiavino-Narvaez said she has accepted as the chief of instructional leadership development with the United States Department of Defense Schools. The position will have her living in Okinawa, Japan and working with three districts in the Pacific including Korea, Japan and Guam that serves 23,000 students in 48 schools.
"It is with mixed feelings that I share this news. I have loved serving as Hartford’s Superintendent and working with our wonderful students, families, educators, staff, partners and our Board. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my family. In this new role, I will continue my passion working with Superintendents, principals and senior teams to advance the leadership practices of educators," Schiavino-Narvaez said.
Schiavino-Narvaez started as the superintendent of schools in July 2014. She said she "promptly began a listening tour and strategic planning process that resulted in a five year strategic plan entitled, “Cultivating Equity and Excellence.” She still had two years left in her contract. In her contract, it states she has to give 90 days written notice if she wants to leave, which she gave on Thursday.
"We have made much progress together in Hartford and this district is well-poised to build on the momentum we created – putting students at the center of their learning and ensuring all of our leaders are focused on the core business of teaching and learning. I am proud to say that we have advanced every equity indicator in our strategic plan – from reducing chronic absenteeism and suspensions to increasing third grade reading and 9th grade algebra proficiency, along with increases in college and career readiness opportunities and college acceptances. While the work is not done, a strong foundation is in place, there is a community-wide commitment to equity, and, through Equity 2020, a realistic plan for sustainability will be achieved," Schiavino-Narvaez said.
She isn't a stranger to Asia, as she started off her career 22 years ago in South Korea.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Schiavino-Narvaez "dedicated herself to serving Hartford’s students and strengthening Hartford’s schools." He wished "her well in her new role."
"The coming months and years present important opportunities and challenges for the Hartford school system, as new leaders will have the chance to fight for reforms in the wake of yesterday’s historic court decision, shape the next phase of the longstanding Sheff vs. O’Neil lawsuit, manage the Equity 2020 process and school consolidation, and increase our focus on quality neighborhood and community schools. I am confident that the Board of Education will move quickly to name an interim superintendent and ensure a smooth transition, and I will be working closely with the Board of Education during that process," Bronin said in a statement on Thursday.
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