FAIRFIELD — The district is gearing up for the approaching school year with a new leader at the helm.

Mike Cummings became Superintendent of Schools on Aug. 12 after being appointed by the Board of Education. A week into the job and the first day of school only 10 days away, Cummings is thrilled to be jumping right into things.

He’s already filling his calendar with regular visits to the town’s schools, as well as meetings with every principal. Getting face time with people and places, he said, is key to his leadership style.

“I look for the ability to interact with people on a day-to-day basis,” Cummings explained. “You need to be where the learning is.”

This year will mark an important milestone for Fairfield schools as they finish up almost 10 years of curricular planning. Writing new curriculum, though, is only the first step. Cummings plans to focus on implementing and evaluating curriculum to ensure that it fosters learning for all students.

“Now you have to make it work,” he explained.

The district will be faced with some big issues this year, including finding a permanent location for the Early Childhood Center and fixing racial imbalances at McKinley School. They’ll also be receiving new enrollment projections in the late fall, which Cummings is preparing to respond to.

And as always, he’s mindful of the budget. With an eye towards the future, Cummings hopes to look at the year-long budget within the context of the district’s five-year plan.

Budgeting is a delicate balance, he said, of being realistic and “advocating for what students need, but being responsible to the needs of the town as well.”

Cummings has already spent four years in Fairfield schools, first as Director of Elementary Education and then as Chief Academic Officer. Before that, he had a long career in the Milford school system.

Despite all this experience, he does not think he has all the answers.

“There’s an awful lot to learn still,” Cummings said.

Above all, Cummings can’t wait for school to start on Aug. 29. While summer provides a nice break, he’s missed the buzz of the school year.

“When the halls are filled with kids, everything makes a lot more sense,” he said with a smile.

rscharf@hearstmediact.com