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Interim superintendent appointed following Falcone's resignation

Published 4:14 pm, Wednesday, November 13, 2013
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Three weeks after former Superintendent Stephen Falcone's resignation, an interim schools leader has been appointed.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education unanimously appointed Dr. Lynne Pierson to serve while the board, which was appointed as the personnel search committee, conducts a national search for the next superintendent of the Darien Public Schools.

Pierson will start Tuesday.

Assistant Superintendent Timothy Canty has been serving as the acting superintendent since Falcone left.

"She brings to our school system tremendous knowledge and experience in special education and school administration from her more than 40-year career," board member Sarah Zuro said.

Pierson started her career in 1971 as a special education teacher, and subsequently went on to become the director of special education services in the Evanston/Skokie school system in Illinois.

She was also the assistant superintendent for personnel and administration for the South Windsor school district, where she established the human resources department.

From 1995 to 2002, she was superintendent in Wethersfield and from 2002 to 2007 in Weston.

In 2007, she became a participant in the educational reform initiatives in the United Arab Emirates through her work for the Abu Dhabi Educational Council. She resigned from Weston after a year in Abu Dhabi, citing that there was more work to be done, according to a January 2008 letter she sent to the Weston district.

"I feel a commitment to continue to offer my expertise, experience and skills to this endeavor, which will provide the foundation for all educational change and improvement throughout the country," Pierson wrote. "It is for these reasons that I have decided to remain in the U.A.E. for a second year."

Zuro said the board is grateful to Pierson for her willingness to lead the Darien Public Schools and for her enthusiasm and passion for improving educational outcomes for children.

Pierson also served as chairman of the New England School Development Council, which was founded at Harvard University, and president of the Fairfield County Superintendent's Association, the Niles Township Principal's Association and the Illinois Association of School Administrators, all elected positions, according to a 2010 biography from an event in Abu Dhabi when Pierson was a keynote speaker. She also served as the Connecticut representative to the Tri State Consortium, an organization providing advanced accreditation to top-performing schools districts in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, according to the bio. Pierson received a doctorate in educational leadership from Loyola University of Chicago.

Falcone resigned Oct. 22 after the board learned that he had received a September 2012 letter from Julie Bookbinder, a former speech pathologist in the district who resigned at the start of the 2012-13 school year, that revealed the chaos inside the special education department following the appointment of Special Education and Services Director Deirdre Osypuk, who has been on paid leave since June 17.

The personnel search committee will be a "collaborative process," Zuro said, and will include "all stakeholders in the community," which will include parents.

"The board is committed to a national search to find an exceptional and outstanding leader," Zuro said.

mspicer @bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews