WALLINGFORD - The Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to appoint Shawn Parkhurst as the new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the school system.
Parkhurst is expected to begin his new job on July 29. He is replacing Ellen Cohn, who is leaving the Wallingford schools to become the new division director of standards, curriculum and instruction at the state Department of Education. Cohn joined Wallingford in 2010 after serving as the senior educational consultant for Hartford-based Capitol Region Education Council.
“We were very impressed with Shawn’s candidacy,” said School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo. “Shawn was able to interview with a variety of groups ... We’re very excited to have him as part of the team.”
Parkhurst will be coming to Wallingford from the North Branford school system, where he has been the principal of Jerome Harrison Elementary School since 2007. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Johnson State College in Johnson, Vt. He began his teaching career in Vermont and went on to teach the fourth and sixth grades at the Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan.
Upon returning to the U.S., Parkhurst became the assistant principal at Killingworth Elementary School. He then became principal of Dunn’s Corners School in Westerly, R.I., and was eventually appointed principal of Abraham Pierson School in Clinton.
Parkhurst played a key role in the area of curriculum and instruction for the various school systems he was a part of and was nominated for the National Distinguished Principal Award in 2011.
Board of Education Chairwoman Roxane McKay said she and the rest of the board are looking forward to seeing the things that can be accomplished with Menzo, Parkhurst and Colin McNamara, the assistant superintendent for personnel.
“I know the process was grueling, but you survived,” McKay said. “I welcome you as well and I know you’re going to be an amazing fit for our central office and I only see great things happening with our new team.”
Menzo said it has not yet been determined what Parkhurst’s salary will be when he officially joins the school system. As assistant superintendent, Cohn’s salary was $139,260.
While Parkhurst has years of experience as a principal of elementary schools, this will be his first time serving as an administrator for an entire school system.
He said he’s looking forward to being a part of a “powerful team” where he can move his passion of teaching and learning forward.