Following is a letter from Board of Education members on the academic year coming to an end and what lies ahead.

The Year That's Ending

The Westport schools are finishing an outstanding year on multiple fronts. Our students have earned achievements in math, science, language arts and writing, and their success outside of the classroom has been equally impressive. Three of our top administrators, including the superintendent, won awards for their leadership. And due to a budget surplus, we were able to invest an additional $500,000 in the continued maintenance of our schools.

Staples and Superintendent Searches

Westport is a very attractive district for education professionals, and we continue to hire the best people to work in and run our school system. The superintendent, who runs the process for and selects all principals, is seeking an interim principal for Staples for the next school year. The school administration can then take the time it needs to find the right permanent principal to lead our high school for many years.

The Board of Education hires one person: the superintendent. We have already begun speaking with firms to assist in the superintendent search. Early in the new school year, we will conduct outreach to the community to hear your ideas on the qualities you seek in the next superintendent. Your input will be important as we both recruit for and hire the next superintendent. We will continue to update you on our process and our progress.

The Year Ahead

The Board of Ed budget for next year passed without any cuts from our funders, allowing us to continue improving on our already-great school district. This means that we'll have several new initiatives beginning in August, including an increase in the music program in Kindergarten, expansion of the professional development of our teachers and additional security personnel throughout the district. We also will have four exciting new courses at Staples, three of which are in science and computer science.

With change comes opportunity, and we are excited about all that lies ahead for the Westport schools. We wish everyone in the Westport community the best for a relaxing, rewarding summer.

Westport Board of Education

Michael Gordon, chairman

Jeannie Smith, vice chairman

Elaine Whitney, secretary

Brett Aronow

Paul Block

Karen Kleine

Mark Mathias