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Doughty retiring as superintendent

Tom Jackson • May 19, 2014 at 5:10 AM

The   2013-14 school year has been a pretty good year for Dennis Doughty.

The Norwalk Schools superintendent just passed the district’s first new operating levy since 1991 and also saw the high school basketball team win a state championship.

So Doughty, 60, is leaving on a high note as he announces his retirement as the district’s top educator.    At Tuesday’s school board meeting, he said he plans to retire, effective July 31. The school board immediately launched a search for his successor, but board president John Lendrum also took time to praise the job Doughty has done in his five years as superintendent.

Lendrum said Doughty has provided 30 years of excellent service to education.

“He’s done a great job for Norwalk with the district,” Lendrum said. “I wish him well in his retirement”

The school board is trying to move quickly to find a new superintendent and would like to have one by June, Lendrum said. He said the board has not decided yet if it needs to name an interim superintendent.

Doughty is ending his education career where he began it. Born in Willard but raised in Norwalk, he started as a student teacher at Norwalk High School in spring 1976.

He worked as a teacher, coach and administrator at St. Paul, his alma mater, Monroeville, Western Reserve and Willard. He was the superintendent in Willard for 10 years before taking the Norwalk post in 2009.

The retiring superintendent is respected and admired by his peers, said Sharon Mastroianni, superintendent of EHOVE.

“When Denny speaks at superintendent gatherings, everyone listens because we know that he has done his research, drawn conclusions, and he presents with confidence and authority” she said.

Doughty said the way the retirement system is structured and his weariness with 65- to 70-hour workweeks makes this a good time to scale back, although he said he plans to remain active.

He said passing the school levy last week was sweet. When he came on board in 2009, the Great Recession had just begun.

“The fiscal structure of the United States kind of collapsed for awhile” he said. “We were working on things to stabilize the budget.

“I’m going to miss the interaction with our teachers and students. That’s the fun part of the job. We’ve got a very strong staff. They are just outstanding teachers and people” Doughty said.

Doughty said he won’t miss getting up at 4 a.m. every day, which he said has been his habit for years, or having to drive on roads in the early morning during snowstorms, trying to decide whether to cancel school.

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