NEW FAIRFIELD – On Thursday, February 22, the New Fairfield Board of Education held a special meeting to vote on the hire of the district’s new Superintendent, Dr. Patricia Cosentino.
To a room packed with faculty, parents, and town officials, board members varied from confident declarations to waxing poetic about Dr. Cosentino’s fitness for the position. Board chair Peggy Katkocin said “I think the community will be very happy with Pat leading it…she’s very progressive and I hope everybody welcomes her and gives her the opportunity to benefit from her expertise.” Mr. Douglas DeRito said, “I was blown away by Dr. Cosentino…her passion for children, for the arts, for the special education program…I look forward to working with her very closely.” He went on to state, “Several years from now we’re going to look back at this moment … as maybe one of the proudest moments of this school district.”
There was a unanimous vote to adopt her three-year contract, beginning on July 1, which was followed by a standing ovation and whoops from the audience, which Cosentino waved off jokingly, laughingly saying, “You don’t even know me yet.”
Dr. Cosentino comes to the district after serving as Region 12’s superintendent. Prior to her time in Region 12, she was employed for 11 years in the Bethel school system. She began her Bethel career in 2001 as the Principal of Frank A. Berry School. In 2006, Dr. Cosentino assumed the principalship of Bethel High School (BHS). During her time there, she oversaw two school renovation projects, led the high school in a NEASC self-study and site visit which allowed BHS to receive accreditation. Before her time in CT she worked in Public School 206Q in Rego Park, New York as a teacher, an Assistant Principal and five years as the Principal. She also worked for one year in Columbus School in Bridgeport, CT. Dr. Cosentino received her Doctorate in Instructional Education from Western Connecticut State University in 2008.
A conversationalist, Cosentino made the rounds of the room before the meeting introducing herself to the parents and staff who were present. She says of herself, “You will come to know me as somebody who tries to be kind at all times, takes the high road, and always does what’s best for kids.” She says that her personal message is “you always have to remain positive” and that she “see(s) the glass half full.”
She plans to launch a robust PR campaign, “I think that New Fairfield is a school district that has so many wonderful strengths, including a wonderful community, and I think that it’s about time that people know that.”
Dr. Cosentino plans to spend time in the community before her start date and is looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and concerns. In a more formal press release, issued via the hiring consulting firm Cooperative Educational Services, Dr. Cosentino says, “I am grateful to the Board of Education for having the confidence in my ability to lead and positively impacting New Fairfield.” She went on to write that, “Together we will build a foundation of kindness and respect, as we work towards continuous improvement highlighting our accomplishments and celebrating our achievements.”
Cosentino will replace Alicia Roy, when both of their contracts end on June 30. Her official start date will be July 1, 2018.
By Sarah Opdahl