FAIRFIELD — Dean Baker, the longtime superintendent of schools for School Administrative District 49, has retired after 30 years with the district, and the School Board has hired his replacement.

The district’s School Board said in a news release Monday that it had unanimously voted to hire Reza Namin as the next superintendent. Namin, who will start on Sept. 1, has a long history in academics, having served as superintendent in Maine and Massachusetts schools. He was dean of curriculum and programs at Cambridge Public Schools as well as the chief academic officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Sheriff. He was also superintendent of schools for the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School district in Massachusetts, which serves four towns, and which was later recognized for its academic success in U.S. & World News Report.

“Dr. Namin proved himself the best fit to carry forward the vision of the district,” school board Chair Shelley Rudnicki said in the release. “His track record of driving innovation and academic excellence along with his passion for working with the students and families of our communities and developing a district strategic plan.”

Namin, who holds a doctorate degree in math and science education, holds several certificates in education and has been nominated for several awards, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, Science and Technology, and the Massachusetts Teacher of the Year award. He previously served as superintendent for Westbrook schools before returning to Massachusetts. Namin emigrated to the United States during the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

According to the press release, Namin is a former professional soccer player who was drafted into Major league Soccer. He was named New England Coach of the Year in NCAA Division I while coaching at the College of the Holy Cross.

The press release said the board made their unanimous decision on Thursday, though the district’s website did not indicate there was a meeting that day, or that they were searching for a new superintendent at all.

In an email to the Morning Sentinel, Rudnicki said Baker announced his decision to retire in May, and the board began its search immediately. She said there were three finalists. Namin’s salary will be $120,000.

SAD 49 is made up of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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