Title: SHU job offer, family issues key to decision to leave school post
Updated 4:08 pm, Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Superintendent of Schools David Title said he wasn’t actively looking for a new job, but when he was approached by Sacred Heart University, it proved to be an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Title, 59, in an unexpected development, informed the Board of Education last Friday that he plans to retire Aug. 1 from the post he has held for the last five years.
“I’m excited,” Title said of the Sacred Heart job. “I started teaching as an adjunct professor in September, with the board’s permission, but I wasn’t doing it with the idea of it becoming full time.” He will continue to teach a course in Sacred Heart’s educational leadership department. “I teach aspiring principals,” he said, and have a role in establishing a doctoral-level program in educational leadership, as well as superintendent certification.
“They would like to get both those things going, and they’d like me involved in developing that from the ground floor,” he said. “It’s right in my wheelhouse.”
After donating a kidney to his son last year, Title said, “I had a lot of time to think about my life and I had a heart-to-heart discussion with my family.” He added, however, that he was comfortable staying around “for another few years if nothing juicy came along.”
Hired as the school district’s top administrator in 2010, Title previously was the superintendent of the Bloomfield public schools.
He is the highest-paid public employee in town, with compensation of $293,504 last year, according to recently released data.
Board of Education Chairman Philip Dwyer said this week the board will have to agree on a process to replace Title.
“The Connecticut Association of Boards of Education has a recommended best practice to follow in searching for a superintendent,” Dwyer said, “but at the end of the day, it’s the local board that decides on the process.”
Dwyer said it is likely the board will receive job applications from out of state, but noted that each district in each state has different superintendent certification requirements. He said that, in all likelihood, the school board will need to hire an interim superintendent. “State law does require that you have a superintendent,” Dwyer said. “You can’t leave it vacant while you search.”
The board chairman said Title’s departure “is a loss to the district and I think it’s good news for Dr. Title.”
“He enjoys the professional development teaching side of his job,” Dwyer said. “He’s looking forward to the next stage of his life.”
First Selectman Michael Tetreau said he was sorry to learn of Title’s decision to leave. “He has contributed greatly to our town and our school system,” Tetreau said. “On a personal note, he has been a pleasure to work with. I am glad to hear he is not leaving our community entirely and I wish him the best in his new role at Sacred Heart University.”
Board of Education Vice Chairman Anthony Calabrese wished Title the best in retirement, and his new job. “He was a wonderul superintendent and he will surely be missed by the entire school district,” Calabrese said.
“As a parent of students in the school system and as a board member I am very sorry to see Dr. Title go,” Jessica Gerber, the school board secretary, said. “He made a lot of positive changes to our district under incredibly difficult circumstances.”
In his letter to the Board of Education, Title cited family considerations as one of the reasons for his decision to retire.
Last June, Title donated a kidney to his 26-year-old son, Russell, who has Alport Syndrome, a genetic condition. Following the surgery, Title was forced to work a reduced schedule, often having to leave Board of Education meetings before they ended because of the late hour.
His younger son, Jack, also had Alport Syndrome, and died the previous year when his kidneys failed.
“As many of you know, our family has endured a number of stressful and emotionally draining events over the past few years,” Title’s letter said. “The outpouring of support from this community has been incredible. The tremendous support from my professional colleagues and this Board is valued beyond measure. The teachers and administrators in this district are truly remarkable. But even with all this support, these personal challenges have compelled me to adjust the demands in my daily schedule.”
Title said, however, that “The board right now is in the best shape since I’ve been here. They’ve turned a corner.”
“At some point, you’ve got to know when to move on,” he said. “It also gives me a lot of experience to draw on.”