Although Deirdre Osypuk will be new to the area when she starts as director of special education and student services for Darien Public Schools July 1, she is not new to the field.

"I love working with kids," Osypuk said. "My assistant basketball coach in college was a school psychologist, and he allowed me to shadow him. I was sold at that moment."

Osypuk earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Skidmore College. She holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Connecticut.

"I was in graduate school from 1993 to 1999, and during that time I became certified as a school psychologist," she said, adding that she interned for Sterling public schools and went on to complete a post-doctorate fellowship at Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield.

More Information

Fact box

"Once I completed my post-doctorate and completed my Ph.D. program, then I went on to become a licensed psychologist," she said.

Now the director of student support services for Bloomfield public schools, Osypuk said she is proud to have seen special-needs students under her guidance graduate high school and go on to college.

"I was fortunate in my schooling career and I just wanted to give back to students who maybe were struggling," she said.

Christopher Leone, Bloomfield public schools chief operating officer, said BPS makes it a practice not to comment on their employees.

Superintendent of Schools Stephen Falcone said Osypuk has had a strong experience in Bloomfield.

"I think that she's done a lot of work in her own district," Falcone said. "She's a real advocate for kids."

According to a press release, Osypuk created in-district programs for students with autism, hearing impairments and significant behavioral issues that have given them an inclusive education with nondisabled students.

"She has been noted as a person who uses data effectively to analyze both student and system issues, applies collaborative approaches to solve problems and creates structures to measure student and district progress," the press release said.

"She brings a new perspective," Falcone added.

Osypuk said she has a collaborative style.

"Anything that has been accomplished has been accomplished with a team effort," she said.

This is what attracted Osypuk to Darien.

"What I was really taken by in Darien throughout the interview process and my interactions with the people there was the professionalism and the level of collaboration," she said. "It's a very high-performing district."; 203-972-4407