FAIRFIELD — The administration of School Administrative District 49 will look different in the coming school year, as Superintendent Reza Namin is in the midst of implementing an administrative restructuring he says will help improve the performance of the Fairfield-based school district.

“The restructuring is for the purpose of moving to a high-performing academic school and improving the culture and climate of our schools,” Namin said after a Friday night meeting with a small group of 10 parents, employees and residents at Lawrence High School.

The meeting was the fourth in a “listening tour” Namin has scheduled at each school in the district to discuss his first 100 days since coming to the district in September and his plans for the future. SAD 49 serves the communities of Albion, Benton, Clinton and Fairfield.

Namin said he sees the restructuring, which will come with an estimated savings of about $113,000, as key; but it also has led to rumors that he wanted to clear up, which was why he chose to meet with each school community this week and next.

The restructuring plan, approved by the board of directors earlier this month, includes eliminating the principals at Lawrence High School and Lawrence Junior High School and eliminating three assistant principals.

Instead, the district would be served by a single principal for grades 7 through 12 and one dean of students each at the high school, junior high school and Benton Elementary School.


In addition, the job descriptions and titles of six administrators — the current finance director, payroll processor, business office assistant, director of special education, director of technology and transportation supervisor — would be restructured with different titles and job descriptions.

A seventh position, that of director of operations, would be eliminated and a new position, human resources specialist, would be added.

Asked Friday night about potential layoffs of administrators by former Rep. Karen Kusiak, of Fairfield, Namin said he could not comment on personnel issues but assured her it is within the district’s legal rights to eliminate administrative positions through restructuring.

“As the superintendent, I work closely with legal counsel and want to make sure my interpretation and theirs of the contract is correct,” he said. “The statute allows for restructuring for a purpose of cost savings and better programming. That process has gone through the legal counsel.”

Namin is aiming to have the new administrative structure in place July 1. He said administrators in their current jobs are able to apply for the new positions.

“Everyone will have equal opportunity,” he said.


Some residents and parents at Friday’s meeting expressed trepidation at the plan, though others also said change could be good.

“I hear the chitter-chatter of students,” said Debbie Poli, an SAD 49 parent and the district’s attendance secretary. “Some of them are really scared and don’t know what’s happening. I feel we need to get this out there to students.”

Namin said he has tried to visit every classroom in the district this week and will continue to do so next week, with stops planned Monday at Lawrence Junior High School and Tuesday at Clinton Elementary School. Public meetings are scheduled for 6 p.m. at each school.

With the estimated savings from the administrative restructuring, Namin said he would like to hire three new teachers — one for Benton Elementary School, one for Clinton Elementary School and one at Lawrence Junior High School.

He said the student-teacher ratios at those schools are not in line with what they should be.

Namin also talked Friday night about his definition of a high-performing school — which includes support for teachers and a culture of collegiality, academic programs that focus on students of all achievement levels, clear benchmarks and data to measure success, supports for students both academically and emotionally, and a positive reputation in the community.


“We need to shift to the next level,” he said. “We need to know where we’re going, how we get there and are we there.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368


Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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