Weston Superintendent of Schools Jerome R. Belair has notified the Board of Education that he is resigning effective Feb. 4, 2011, and thereafter assuming the superintendent's position in Waterford.

"I love this job here in Weston," Belair told the Westport News. "This is one of the toughest decisions that I've ever had to make."

Belair added his decision was motivated in large part by his wish to work closer to his home in Groton and spend more time with his family, in particular his grandson.

"Jerry has been an excellent Superintendent and we are disappointed that he has decided to leave Weston, but we understand that this is the right decision for Jerry," said Philip Schaefer, Chairman of the Board of Education, in response to the announcement. Belair resides in Groton Long Point.

Belair has been employed by the Weston Public Schools since November 2006 and became Superintendent of Schools on May 1, 2008, after having served as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

As superintendent, Belair has facilitated high quality professional development, curriculum renewal, technology use in daily teaching and learning, the expansion of Mandarin Chinese, the creation of the high school video production studio, the establishment of an early intervention program for elementary students who might require special services, and the strengthening of teacher supervision and mentoring. During his tenure, significant operational efficiencies and cost savings have been achieved, school officials said.

"Weston has been at the top or near the top on standardized measurements of student achievement. However, as Mr. Belair has frequently reminded us, what matters most in Weston is having a rigorous and challenging learning experience for all students and the need for continuous improvement," Schaefer said. "He has always had the best interests of the students and the staff as the focal point of his vision for Weston. He has listened to diverse points of view and used the input of many constituencies in the decision-making process."

The Board of Education will begin the search immediately for an interim superintendent and then undertake a search for a permanent replacement. Schaefer told the Westport News that compensation for Belair's successor will be determined by a range of factors including professional experience and educational credentials such as the degrees held by the successor. Belair currently earns an annual salary of $232,000 as superintendent.