Bloomington’s Addie Mattson Remembers Tim Connors.

WPCNR Afternoon Tribune. By John F. Bailey. April 23, 2002. 2 PM: Timothy P. Connors, the “Superintendent-Select” of the White Plains Board of Education to head the City School District when Dr. Saul Yanofsky leaves June 30, came into a district in Minnesota in 1992, following a very popular superintendent, and facing a serious budget crisis. Addie Mattson remembers his extraordinary contributions to the Bloomington Schools.

According to Addie Mattson, Community Relations Coordinator of the Bloomington Public Schools, Mr. Connors quickly won over the district, made tough decisions about a budget, and initiated “ahead-of-his-time” measures to address minority achievement, and attracted new funds. He left under good terms to head back East.

Is Timothy Connors the right stuff for White Plains?

Mr. Connors will begin to answer those questions tonight at White Plains High School when the Board of Education introduces him at a Community Forum in the B-1, All-Purpose Room, off North Street at 8 PM. The public is invited.

Ten Years Ago He Was the Right Stuff for Bloomington, Minnesota

Mr. Connors is no stranger to coming into tough situations and staying the course. He was before coming to Bloomington, superintendent of schools in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where he stayed ten years, winning Superintendent of the Year.

He moved on to Bloomington, Minnesota in 1992.

Ms. Mattson remembers. Mr. Connors is a firm believer in communicating with his School District constituents directly, as evidenced by his first move. He hired Ms. Mattson as Community Relations Director, a post she still holds to this day. She spoke by telephone with WPCNR Friday and told us what Mr. Connors’ Bloomingdale years were like.

“A Number of Contributions. Style: Easy to Work With.”

Ms. Mattson, in her comfortable heartland drawl, reminisced, “I think Tim made a number of contributions that really helped the school district move forward. Since he has left, (1997), we’ve built on that and continued our progress. I reported directly to Tim while he was with us.

“For my part I found him easy to work with, accessible, good at communications, out in the community a lot. He made it a point to be in the schools very, very frequently, so he had a very fine understanding of how things were working for kids.”

Easterner Fits in With “Stolid Minnesotans.”

Asked how Mr. Connors, being from the Northeast made the transition to “stolid Minnesotans,” Ms. Mattson said, “Well, we’re not stolid, for one thing. We value very highly hard work. We got that from Tim. We value education and we got that. So we had a lot of common ground.”

Bloomington Larger Than White Plains, With a Lot of Match-ups.

“Bloomington the city, and Bloomington the school district are pretty much the same space,” she said. “Bloomington is a city of about 88,000. We are the second ranked suburb of Minneapolis, Southwest central. We’re a quite affluent community, though we have a broad range within that. We’re predominantly white, but becoming increasingly diverse. We have a lot of strong community support for our schools. People don’t write a blank check. You have to make a good case for money and support, and they act on that behavior.”

Convincing, Committed Leader

Mattson said that Bloomington now is fully developed and at a point where people have have decided we are going to “reinvigorate ourselves.” She reported that shortly after Mr. Connors left the district, the city passed what was at the time a state record for a capital bond referendum to renovate all of Bloomington’s schools.

Mattson said that “there would have been laid some things in place as groundwork,” begun by Connors for the eventual passage of that referendum in 1999, that sold the referendum to the Bloomington voters.

Connors Highlight Reel

When Connors worked for Bloomington, it was 15 to 18% minority population, and as Mattson describes it, (White Plains is approximately 53% minority), “diversity was just starting to come on the radar for a lot of people, one of the places it is most visible of course, is in schools. We had one school in particular that was relatively more diverse than the rest. Tim made some good steps in terms of that school, and kids generally, that he was responsible for.”

Established “Diversity Coordinator Position.”

Connors established a “Diversity Coordinator Position,” a district-wide position. That person is still with us, she says, and “we’ve built on that. Our district is now diverse enough to qualify for state distribution money. So Tim, with his focus on urban diversity, certainly, right there was the leading edge of that. He strengthened it there.”

Secured Funding for Schools Where Poverty an Issue.

Connors, she reports, helped Bloomington, secure “extra resources for schools where poverty was an issue. What happens of course, is you often have a correlation between diversity and poverty, although it’s not a perfect fit. They are not the same thing, but they coexist.”

Practical, Pragmatic, Progressive Persuasive Futurist

In speaking with Mattson, Connors appeared to be a man with an eye to making good decisions for the future that stand the test of time. Statewide testing came to Minnesota six years ago, according to Mattson, at the end of the Connors era. She said he had already secured extra funding at schools where minority achievement was an issue.

“I remember no dissatisfaction that came out in any official way. We’re always striving to be better.”

Technology on a Budget.

Connors, at the same time White Plains was technologizing its schools, was upgrading Bloomington schools technology. He also established a technology model, Mattson reports, “which we’re still following.”

Mattson described her former boss as, “very committed to the technology for all employees and students. He was able to put a (technology) model out there, using what were then scarce resources for it, and developing the support of all the principals to allocate funds from each of the schools to assemble a model media center in what was then our intermediate school. We follow that model now as we’re going through these renovations. He was very instrumental in having that handled.”

Implemented Sweeping Schedule Changes.

Mr. Connors is able to tackle sacred cows.

Mattson said Connors “required” the high school to “develop a new schedule system so that we could eliminate some of the course choices the kids were having to make, such as continuing in music or taking a foreign language.” Asked how he achieved this, Mattson said he simply told the administrators that “we are going to do this, so you can either work out a way to do it, or we will do it for you.”

PILOTed All-Day Kindergarten.

Connors created the Bloomington All-Day Kindergarten, which, she says is “now available in most of our elementary schools. It’s choice. That was tested while he was here, and that’s become a success for sure.”

The Leave-taking.

Mattson said, “We felt there were pull factors, more than push factors. Number one, he had a strong, strong interest in urban education. That was his academic background. While Bloomington was becoming increasingly diverse, you would not think of it as an urban environment. All of his roots were in the East.”

Mattson said he came to Bloomington because of its “strong national reputation for strong programs, forward looking leadership and community support.” Connors created many of those programs. She says, for example, “Bloomington attracts administrators from all over America. Our latest financial administrator came from Hawaii.”

The Scouting Report.

“We felt he was a person with high energy, looking over the horizon, recognizing problems, and moving forward,” Mattson summed up. “There’s one thing that Tim said when he first got here, that I heard him say many times, particularly when we were dealing with challenges:

“Everybody sends us the best kids they’ve got and from there its our responsibility to move them along to their fullest potential.”

” I think he acted on that, this community expected that, and his time here was very progressive.”

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Mayor Delfino Celebrates Earth Day with “NATURE”

WPCNR NewsReel. From Paul Wood, The Mayor’s Office. April 22, 2002. 3 PM EDT: In recognition of Earth Day, White Plains Mayor Joseph Delfino announced the release of the city’s first environmental education publication, “Nurturing Awareness Through Understanding and Respecting the Environment, NATURE. ”

“This is a fun and educational book full of “hands on” projects designed to teach our city’s youth about the natural world around them,” Delfino said. “It is imperative that we teach our children, the future stewards of our natural resources, about the importance of protecting the environment.

100 Environmental Education Projects You Can Do in White Plains

“NATURE contains more than 100 environmental education projects designed for White Plains. The booklet includes resource listings, contact lists for city departments and local and regional environmental organizations, as well as an extensive listing of environmental educational web sites,” The Mayor said, in a statement.

Part of the Mayor’s Coordinated Open Space Inititative

As part of the multifaceted Open Space Initiative introduced by Mayor Delfino in January 2001 and adopted by the Common Council in September 2001, this guidebook describes projects that can be undertaken in the city’s parks and open spaces, at local schools and community rooms.

First the Land, Now “NATURE” Suggests How to Use It.

Since the announcement of the Open Space Initiative, the Mayor has spearheaded the acquisition of more than six acres of environmentally sensitive land, known as the D’Elia Property, directed completion by City staff of the first Recreation and Parks Master Plan in 40 years, and established the Open Space Advisory Committee to advise city officials on the acquisition of additional Open Space.

Created by The Recreation and Planning Departments

The various projects in “NATURE” were compiled, adapted and/or created by an environmental education intern working under the direction of the Department of Recreation and Parks with staff support from the Department of Planning.

Staff from the Library and the School District, as well as numerous environmental organizations contributed ideas and material to “NATURE”. Delfino expressed his sincere thanks “to all those who had worked with the city to create this wonderful resource for our children.”

Drop by Planning or the Recreation Department for your copy.

Copies of “NATURE” will be distributed to the teachers, scout leaders, day camps, youth groups, community organizations and individuals interested in undertaking environmental projects with youngsters in the community. Copies are available through the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Planning.

The Telephone Number of the Department of Recreation and Parks is 422-1336. The Department of Planning, 422-1252.

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WPCNR NewsReel. From Westchester County Department of Communications. April 22, 2002. 10:00 AM EDT: Westchester County has won a national competition to see which county could generate the most pledges from its residents to keep their homes smoke-free when children are around, County Executive Andy Spano announced today.
The contest was sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. Westchester actively participated in the contest, as part of its effort to fight underage smoking and protect children from second-hand smoke.

The co0nty was recently notified by NACo that of the 13 counties in nine states that participated in the challenge Westchester County itself had almost as many pledges as all the others combined. Westchester’s total, according to NACo, was 1,979.

“This award is a symbolic recognition of our efforts in Westchester County to protect our children and grandchildren from second-hand smoke,” said Spano. “I want to thank all Westchester residents who took the pledge to keep their homes smoke free when children are around.”

He added, “”The Smoke-Free Home Pledge fit in perfectly with our anti-tobacco campaign, Butt Out Westchester. However, getting the pledges was only a beginning. We are continuing our efforts to promote smoke-free homes for Westchester County’s children.”
Westchester will be honored in July at NACo’s annual conference in New Orleans. In addition, NACo will detail the Westchester effort in an upcoming issue of its newsletter. “Your whole-hearted embracing of this issues is reassuring as the public becomes more and more aware of the dangers associated with passive smoking especially with children,” NACo said in notifying the county of its award.

Westchester’s effort was multi-faceted and unique: Westchester County actively promoted the Smoke-Free Home Pledge by launching the event at a press conference held by Spano. It also posted a link on its website in which residents could easily take the pledge; enlisted the help of 14 community-based organizations to gather pledges; circulated sign-in rosters at county worksites; and designed and created flyers that were posted throughout Westchester County encouraging all residents to take the pledge.

For the third consecutive year, Westchester County will be spending $2.6 million this year on anti-smoking initiatives primarily aimed at deterring underage smoking. A component of that are efforts to protect children – and adults – from second-hand smoke. For example, some areas of Westchester’s parks will now ban smoking all together, and Spano has proposed restrictions on how close smokers may be to entrances of county buildings.

Last year, the Westchester Chapter of the American Lung Association gave Westchester an “A” for its effort to deter underage smoking.

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Board of Ed Adopts

WPCNR NewsReel. Special to WPNCR from Michelle Schoenfeld.April 20,2002. 11:30 AM EDT: The Board of Education will meet at 8 PM Monday evening at Education House to adapt the “Property Tax Report Card,” and have some announcements.

The Board will also hold a public reception Tuesday evening for White Plains to meet their new Superintendent-Select,” Timothy P. Connors, at a reception which was moved Monday from Education House to White Plains High School, the All Purpose Room, B-1, off the North Street Entracne. It still begins at 8 PM. Earlier Tuesday, the Board will introduce Mr. Connors to the Administration of the School District.

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Council to Set Indian Point Policy. City Center Closing Continues.

WPCNR Friday All News Final. Special to WPCNR April 19, 2002. 11:00 PM: Councilman William King reported to WPCNR today that the Common Council is seriously considering passing a resolution urging the closing of the Entergy Indian Point nuclear power plant and “swift” removal of the fuel rods.
The Council is scheduled to take up the matter, King reports, at next Thursday’s work session for possible passage at the May 6 Council meeting.

King also expressed strong support for Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner’s new conservation plan for the Town of Greenburgh. King plans on attending Feiner’s news conference next week where Feiner will introduce the plan. The White Plains Councilman King expressed a desire to implement such a conservation plan for the City of White Plains.

Meanwhile, “at an undisclosed location somewhere in Rockland, Dutchess, Westchester County area…”

The City Center closing was confirmed by City Hall spokesperson, Paul Wood , as continuing into Monday. Wood said the closing has been ongoing for the last five days. Geoffrey Thompson told WPCNR today, he had expected an announcement today but felt no closure was forthcoming Friday. Wood said it was just taking “more time than expected.”

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W.A.V.E. Endorses Valentin and Pollak to Oppose Geiger, Sules Tuck.

WPCNR All News Final. By Steven Rabinowitz. April 18, 2002. 11:30 PM EDT:The White Plains Alliance for Vision in Education (WAVE) has unanimously endorsed two candidates for the May 21, 2002 Board of Education election–Maria Valentin and William Pollak.
W.A.V.E. believes that Maria and Bill each bring their own unique qualifications to the Board–Maria as a long-term educator, Bill as a 3rd generation White Plains resident with a strong commitment to public service.

They are both strong believers in an open and democratic process for the Board and will work hard to insure that the needs of the entire school community in White Plains are addressed. They will bring a needed fresh look to our Board.

Valentin Choice of Centro Hispano

Maria Valentin is also endorsed by Centro Hispano and would be the first person of Hispanic descent on the White Plains Board of Education.

Steven Rabinowitz, President of W.A.V.E. said in a statement to the media, “I hope you will all join me in wishing Maria and Bill best of luck in their respective campaigns. I know that the activists of WAVE are already working on behalf of both candidates and will continue to do so right up until the election.”

At the moment, there are five persons contesting for the two seats up for election to the Board of Education. Steven Sules and Lawrence Geiger, the incumbents have decided to run for reelection within the last two weeks, and Robert Tuck is running as an independent candidate.

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District Leaders Impressed with Connors Commitment, Techniques.

WPCNR All News Final. By John F. Bailey April 18, 2002 11:00 PM EDT: Two members of the citizens interview committee, Administrators President Hugh McKiernan and teachers union leader, Jerry Gorski, had the opportunity to interview Tim Connors and his companion “finalist” last weekend for the White Plains Superintendent of Schools position.
They each expressed great enthusiasm to WPCNR about Mr. Connors philosophy, personality, and ability to lead White Plains schools.
McKiernan, Dean of Principals in White Plains, the Principal of Mamaroneck Avenue School, and President of the Administrators and pervisors Association was impressed with both finalist candidates.

Dean of Administrators Gives Vote of Confidence

“The Search Committee did a good job in identifying candidates who would fit the profile for our district,” McKiernan told CNR. “As you know, the search firm took the time to speak with different constituencies to contribute to the profile. And, the finalists whom we saw were very aligned to that profile. I felt that either of the finalists would be a fine selection. The Board chose Mr. Connors, and I think he’s the kind of person that we can look forward to working closely with in White Plains.”

A Fast Start

Mckiernan spoke at length on the “Connors style” on display in the interview: “I think the administrators will be pleased with the work history, the work ethic and the collegiality, he seems to want to establish immediately. We’ll be meeting with him next week, and that’s a good start. We’re hopeful that the district will continue to show the improvement it did under Dr. Yanofsky, and we’ll continue to do that under Tim Connors.”

McKiernan impressed with his approach to goals, “close working relationship.”

Mr. McKiernan, based on his time with Connors, observed that Connors believed in individual school plans: “I would assume he’ll work closely with the schools and help us
to develop school plans to meet achievement levels, look at resources to see how we can better use current resources or identify other resources. I think the key will be a close working relationship with the schools. He indicated he had visited a school each day while at Danbury. I think that’s an extremely important part of a strong, instructional leadership, that he be present on the front lines so to speak. So, we’re hopeful.”

Superintendent-tested tough.

Asked to comment on how Connors impressed him, McKiernan described him as pleasant with a sense of humor, yet demonstrating, “his commitment to kids is very evident in how he speaks. I think, that he’s been a school superintendent for nineteen years has familiarized him with many of the challenges modern day urban superintendents face.”

“Building Specific” Achievement Plans.No stranger to attacking the Achievement Gap and Test Scores.

Connors’ approach in Danbury to raising achievement is very individual according to McKiernan:

“He’s indicated to us that he’s worked in assemblage with each of the schools to develop a school plan that is building specific. Not every building is typical. That is the approach he takes, I believe that the approach was that rather than a simple, district-wide solution., he would look at each individual school at the beginning to see if he could develop a plan that would bridge the minority student achievement gap.”

I think that’s the way he will go. I think that’s the perfect approach. There’s no one right solution to every level of education. I think it’s exactly the way we should be going. White Plains is not as large as Danbury. I think the fact he wants a close working relationship with teachers parents are all good indications.”

Citizens Committee Could Go Either Way.

“The Committee members who spoke (to the Board of Education in the debriefing,” Kiernan reports, “felt Mr. Connors was a fine choice.”

Teachers Union Head on Same Page.

Jerry Gorski, interviewed by WPCNR Wednesday gave our first impressions about Mr. Connors.

Gorski told us, “He (Connors) was the one I favored of the two finalists. White Plains is very fortunate, getting top caliber people to apply (for Superintendent).”

The leader of the White Plains Teachers Association reports Connors said that he wanted “to focus on what it is they’re trying to do in the classroom, and overall direction.”

Man with vision.

Gorski said Connors impressed him as a man with vision: “If you don’t have vision, you flounder. He (Connors) is strong on not what the student is, but what they could become. He is well-known in his district (Danbury). He is visible. He intends to continue that in White Plains.

Gorski also confirmed that Connors tends to concentrate on the individual student, and views test scores as a tool to share with teachers to point the direction a child’s program should take.

The “Citizens Interview Committee,” Gorski said had a debriefing with the Board of Education after interviewing each of the finalists for three and a half hours on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11. He said some persons spoke their opinions to the board and some did not. He reported no vote was taken. He also said one of the finalists was a woman.

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Connors’ Goal: “Maximize” education of every student

WPCNR Morning Sun. By John F. Bailey. April 18, 2002 9:00 AM EDT: Timothy Connors, Superintendent of Schools of Danbury, Connecticut, told WPCNR today that his success in raising Danbury test scores was based on not so much teaching to the test, but on maximizing the education of every student.
Returning our call, Mr. Connors told us about how he felt about his coming to White Plains.

Mr. Connors said he had “a great job” in Danbury, but the opportunity to come to White Plains with its resources and unique community was one he was looking forward to. When asked when he would be finalizing matters, Connors said he would be meeting with the Board of Education next Tuesday, but did not elaborate on whether he would sign a contract at that time.

The Maximizer

WPCNR got in one quick question. It was the right one. We asked about his secret about raising test scores in Danbury, for which he has been credited.

Connors said White Plains is scoring above the New York State average, and there is “room for improvement,” as he put it. Connors then cut to the chase: obviously his style.

He said that “if you work to maximize the potential of every student, it’s been my experience that the test scores will take care of themselves.”

Connors impressed WPCNR with a rational, deep, mellow delivery, that was earnest and energized, a non-stop, compelling manner of speech, vibrant with an eagerness that cut to the heart of a matter.

Mr. Connors told us he is going on vacation with his wife over the weekend, prior to introducing himself to the people of White Plains next Tuesday.

The public will have an opportunity to meet the “Superintendent-Select” at a reception at Education House, Tuesday, April 23, at 8 PM.

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Geiger: Connors Successful Outreach to Minorities Factor. Geiger runs.

WPCNR White Plains World Telegram. By John F. Bailey. April 17, 2002. 4:30 PM EDT. Larry Geiger of the White Plains Board of Education said Wednesday that the efforts that Timothy Connors, the “Superintendent-Select of the White Plains Schools” (announced Tuesday), made in addressing the achievement gap, which impressed Geiger about Mr. Connors was Connors’ ability to involve minority parents in the Danbury schools and keep them involved.
Mr. Connors is leaving his position as Superintendent of Schools in Danbury, Connecticut, to take over for outgoing White Plains superintendent, Saul Yanofsky, in July, pending a successful introduction to the community next Tuesday evening.

Speaking to WPCNR by telephone from his New York office, Wednesday, Mr. Geiger said he was “delighted we have an excellent candidate for the new Superintendent of Schools.” Asked about Mr. Connors’ Danbury district’s track record at improving minority test scores and Connors’ efforts at improving minority achievement, (one of the Board of Education’s chief criticisms of Dr. Yanofsky), Geiger said he had never seen all the Danbury test scores.

Impressed with Connors’ “all student plan.” Motivation of Minority Parents.

Geiger said what impressed him about Connors was that “He’s talked about a push of an all-student plan, where you try to evaluate what things can be turned around, what teachers are doing well to make a student to be more successful. He feels test scores can be a helpful tool for each individual student to indicate what it is we need to do to help (students).”

Geiger said Connors was successful at involving minority parents in his schools on a continuing basis, inviting them and getting them in to the school to participate actively in their childrens’ education, and motivate the parents with individual plans to help their children. Geiger said, the difference was that Connors was able to motivate these parents to show sustained involvement over a period of time.

Impressive candidates.

Mr. Geiger said the Board was “faced with different candidates at different places in their careers, at different levels of experience, in different kinds of situations, and all were very impressive. We heard from all of them about the strategies they followed, the tactics they employed, the way they interacted with staff. The Board found it a learning experience interviewing them.”

Connors experience a clincher. His city a “fit.”

“But, the match between Mr. Connors experience, he’s an experienced superintendent, and probably has seen and been through many of the situations a superintendent is likely to come across, and some of them are hard to predict. He’s been a superintendent in three different situations. He’s (now) in a system which is in fact bigger than White Plains in terms of students and staff. But, it (Danbury) is a small city school system It has a diverse population with a range of academic skills and needs. So that’s very competitive.”

Moved into New Towns Before.

Another factor in the Board’s decision, made after listening to the City Committee members’ comments after they had interviewed the final two candidates, Geiger said was that Connors has moved into this kind of situation before, he knows what to do to come into town and win the confidence of a community all over again:

“He somewhat has made the transition to become a new superintendent on a number of occasions (at Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Bloomington, Minnesota, and Danbury), which is something we looked for as well.”

Geiger said he did not know a lot about Connors’ stay in the Bloomington, Minnesota, Superintendent position, but that Connors told them he left to come back to Danbury to be closer to his 86-year old mother.

Geiger summed up Connors’ strengths as a people person:

So he knows how to listen well, and understand the culture of each community and work within that culture, not to impose a new culture, and use that culture of a particular location to magnify the effectiveness of learning. That combination of factors seems to make him the right person for the White Plains job.”

Will he stay beyond 3 years?

Board of Education President Donna McLaughlin has been reported has saying that the Board is anticipating a 3-year contract with C|onnors. This would allow Connors to negotiate the new teachers contract which is up in 2003. WPCNR asked Geiger what he expected.

Geiger said first of all, the board does not have a signed contract yet, that the board has to go through that process, but that Connors has made a commitment to take the position.

“I don’t want to speculate, normally he’s there three to five years. The expectation is he will honor whatever the initial contract is. I don’t know how long he’ll stay. I don’t think he knows. I don’t think you can predict that. I think the expectation is that it’s going to be a long enough period of time to make an effort to build on the strength we have.”

Connors Made Geiger feel Comfortable.

Asked about a special chemistry between the Board of Education and Connors, Geiger said,

“I think we all felt very comfortable (with Connors). I can’t speak for anyone besides myself. My feeling was that Connors is the kind of person, who will come in…he’s a very genuine and sincere person. A very outgoing person and those qualities I think will enable him to come into the district and make that connection he needs to make with teachers, all levels of staff, with administrators, with students, with our diverse community, the city government, as well as the community leaders.

A “Connector.” A Reach-Out kind of guy.

“He seems to have an ability to do that. And, he’s proud of that. He basically demonstrated that potential when we talked to him,” Geiger explained. “He has a very good sense of, a keen awareness of the importance of P.R. (public relations) in the most positive sense which is to make sure people are fully aware of what’s going on in the system and appreciate the depth these forces might have. He’s a very “hands-on” kind of person. He told us he likes to go to one school every day. He gets to know the students. They get to know him. They get to know him as a person who is for them, on their side. You get the feeling this is the kind of person you want working for White Plains.”

Geiger said in reaching out to other organizations discussing Connors, he got the feeling that “what you see is what you get” with Mr. Connors., “ You get this friendliness, this openness, this caring about the students, the commitment to the job, the working real hard at it, liking it loving, getting the sense of wanting to wade into the job and the community.”

Involves all parents.

Geiger said Connors wants to reach out to parents, who just as a cultural thing want to stay away from school, and involve them deeply and is committed to that.

Citizen Committee interviewed final two candidates for 3-1/2 hours each. Shared extensive views on the two with the Board

Geiger said the Citizens Committee selected by the Board of Education to interview the final two candidates, the third candidate withdrew from consideration because of a health problem.

Jerry Gorski, President of the White Plains Teachers Association, a member of that Citizens Committee said the other candidate that was not selected was a woman. Mr. Gorski also said that the Citizens Committee interviewed Connors and his co-finalist for 3 and ½ hours each on April 10 and 11 and shared their comments on each Finalist with the Board of Education in a “Debriefing.”

Gorski told WPCNR today that, in his opinion, the Citizen Committee felt the two were equally strong candidates and did not make a recommendation to the Board of Education as to a preference.

Nancy Smith, CO-President of the PTA Council, another member of the Citizen Committee reviewing the “Final Two,” declined to comment on her feelings about Mr. Connors’ selection.

Geiger says he is running again.

In a final news morsel, Mr. Geiger told WPCNR that he has decided to run again for another term on the Board of Education at the May 21 election. He and Stephen Sules, the two incumbents, will run against Maria Valentin and Robert Tuck. Petitions are due at
Education House by May 1 to run for the two vacant School Board seats.

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Superintendent-Select Connors “brought a Lot of Joy to District” Says Sec

WPCNR High Noon Herald. By John F. Bailey. April 17,2002. 12:45 PM EDT: The Danbury, Connecticut, community is “really distraught” on learning that Timothy Connors, their Superintendent of Schools for the last five years is leaving the district, reports Florence Modzelewski, his Secretary during his career there. Mr. Connors was announced yesterday as the White Plains City School District choice to take over the reins from Dr. Saul Yanofsky in July.
Contacted by WPCNR to arrange a television interview with Mr.Connors, Ms. Modzelewski just opened up in praise for her boss. She said, “I wish I could come on the show and cry with you. He’s brought a lot of joy to our district.”
Ms. Modzelewski, Mr. Connors’ Girl Friday since he arrived in the Danbury district told WPCNR, “We are absolutely sick here. There’s not a dry eye in the place. He is the most dynamic man I have ever met. (Mr. Connors) never has a bad day. When you meet him you’ll know the charisma.”

Asked about Mr. Connors contributions to the district, she told WPCNR, “He’s done a tremendous amount for this district,” which she attributes to his dynamic personality. “He’s a very happy person. He really cares about the kids. He visits a school every single day. The kids all know him and he knows them by name.”

Modzelewski reports, “We’re really distraught. We all thought he’d stay a few more years and retire from here. He’s a delight.”

Ms. Modzelewski said Connors introduced the concept of bringing a magnet school to the district, which has been approved and is being built. The magnet school “was the first thing he did,” she said. She said he supervised the renovation of the Danbury High School that is now in the process of construction.

Reporters love him, too.

Eileen FitzGerald, staff reporter of the Danbury News-Times told WPCNR Wednesday that Connors “is a reporter’s dream as far as being accessible and forthright. He makes sure his staff is available and cooperative with the press.”

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