FAIRFIELD — School students are probably taking some anxious glances toward the calendar, as they see their summer vacation slipping away and the start of school not that far off. It’s not that far off for Superintendent of Schools David Title, whose last day with the district is Monday.
After that, Title, 59, will head back to school at Sacred Heart University, where he will be teaching aspiring principals in the university’s educational leadership department, as well as helping to establish a doctoral level program in educational leadership and superintendent certification.
Title came to Fairfield in 2010, and prior to that, served as the school superintendent in Bloomfield.
Before leaving the school district, Title took the time to answer some questions from the Fairfield Citizen.
FC: Why did you decide to go into education?
DT: I had it in the back of my mind when I started at Dartmouth in 1975, but the education department there was very small and almost none of my fellow classmates were even thinking about it. But once I started taking the education courses (in addition to courses in my major, History) and getting a taste of the joy of working with young people and seeing them learn, I was hooked. At the same time, I spent a lot of time in college working at the two commercial radio stations there, and many of my fellow classmates went into the radio/television business. I recall driving back to Hanover from a Red Sox game in Boston, late at night, where I had this conversation with myself - do I go into the broadcasting world or education? At the end of the ride, I had decided on education. I think the deciding factor was that people told me I was adept at teaching and also that I wanted to do something to make the world a better place, and education seemed like a great avenue to do so. And that’s still why I stayed in the field for the next 37 years, and why I am continuing to stay in the field as an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sacred Heart University.
FC: When you were a teacher, what did subject/grade did you teach?
DT: I taught high school history. I also coached high school girls softball and high school girls soccer. I also was a high school basketball official for 23 years.
FC: What is the best thing about teaching?
DT: The best thing about teaching is the satisfaction you get from seeing another person learn and develop the excitement for the subject that I had. As a history teacher, I found that many individuals found it to be a dry subject. It certainly should not be that way. When I saw students not only learn history, but also develop a passion for it, that was incredible. Once in a while, a former student would come back and tell me that not only did he/she major in history in college, but they also want to become a history teacher, and that I helped inspire that passion. That’s the kind of feedback that keeps you going. As a teacher of adults for the past 26 years, I approach it the same way.
FC: What is your proudest accomplishment as Fairfield’s superintendent?
DT: There is no one thing, and I am the worst person to answer this question. I think the individuals who have worked closely with me for the past six years could give you a much better answer. In addition, superintendents rarely can accomplish anything alone; everything is a team effort. I am really proud of the strength of the leaders in this district (in central office and in schools) - a large part of my role, often done behind the scenes, is strengthening the skills of the administrative team. I’ve been fortunate enough to recruit and retain some great educational leaders to work in Fairfield; we’ve also done some promoting from within and transfers that have been of tremendous benefit to the students here. That team has allowed me to lead them for six years, and together we’ve instituted Data Teams, Instructional Rounds, new practices in teacher evaluation and in School Improvement Plans. I’m also proud that we have engaged many teachers in this same work, and many teachers in leadership roles in the work. I’m proud that the Board of Education unanimously approved our five-year District Improvement Plan in July of 2015. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t include ongoing improvements in curriculum, textbooks, technology, finances, facilities and safety/security. All that being said, there is still plenty of work to be done.
FC: Any words of wisdom for your successor?
DT: The job is tremendously time-consuming, but also tremendously rewarding. We have a supportive community, supportive parents, talented students and highly skilled staff members throughout the district. Spend some time getting out to see this powerful combination of forces make educational magic, which happens in our schools every day. Whenever you have a rough day, get out the next day to classrooms, or concerts, or plays, or sporting events, and you’ll be energized and feel proud, as I did, to be allowed to lead this wonderful school district.