Early exit for Bristol Superintendent Solek

Published on Friday, 13 October 2017 21:14


BRISTOL - Ellen Solek will be out as the city’s superintendent of schools effective Oct. 31 and will receive three months of severance pay.

The Board of Education approved the agreement in executive session on Oct. 11. She will be leaving eight months before her contract expiration date of June 30, 2018.

This past June, the board voted not to extend her contract beyond next year.

“It was a mutual agreement,” said board Chairman Chris Wilson. “It’s not too unusual in these situations, when a contract is not extended for a superintendent, not to work out the whole term.”

The agreement says that through Oct. 31 she will be paid at her 2017-18 base salary of $175,000 plus an annual $15,000 contribution to a tax-sheltered annuity.

She will remain on the payroll through Jan. 31, 2018. The district will also continue her health insurance coverage through June 30, 2018.

As of July 1, 2018, she will have the right to continue her health insurance coverage at her own expense, as allowed by law. She will also receive four months’ worth of contributions to the Teachers’ Retirement Board as a lump sum of $9,000.

The agreement also specifies that the board members and Solek not make any disparaging comments about each other, apart from truthfully testifying in any legal proceedings.

Wilson said the board will likely meet next week to decide what to do about replacing her.

“It will probably be an internal candidate, someone that possesses the superintendent’s certification. Some of our staff have that certification. Then the board will have to ask permission from the state education commissioner to have an interim superintendent in the meantime,” he said.

He confirmed that Deputy Superintendent Susan Moreau has the required certification. She served as interim superintendent for two months in 2012, after Philip Streifer left the job on May 1 and before Solek officially took over on July 1.

Solek has been superintendent for just over five years and is the highest-paid public official in the city. She took over from Streifer, who left to take a position at the University of North Carolina Fayetteville. Solek moved to town from Hamden and had been superintendent in East Haddam for five years.

She came just as the district was going through a period of extensive change. With the end of the 2011-12 school year, the district shut down four aging schools: Greene-Hills, Jennings, and O’Connell elementary schools and Memorial Boulevard Middle School. The four joined Bingham Elementary School, which was shuttered in 2010.

They were replaced by the new West Bristol K-8 School at Clark Avenue and Matthews Street, and the new Greene-Hills K-8 School, built next to the old Greene-Hills, which was demolished.

The district went through an extensive redistribution of students among the remaining elementary and middle schools as well as the new K-8s.

Solek also oversaw the district expanding its kindergarten program to full-day in the fall of 2014.

In March, Solek was listed by The Gainsville Sun as one of 44 applicants for the superintendent’s job in the Alachua County school system in Florida.

In 2016, The St. Augustine Record reported she was a semifinalist for the superintendent’s job in St. Johns County, Florida, although she told the board she was not seeking the job.

The Press has contacted Solek, who says she is preparing a statement for a later release.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General News on Friday, 13 October 2017 21:14. Updated: Friday, 13 October 2017 21:16.