Flanagan leaving position as deputy superintendent

Deputy Superintendent Ellen Flanagan

Deputy Superintendent Ellen Flanagan

Deputy Superintendent Ellen Flanagan has announced her intention to leave the position effective August 1, 2016 to pursue other career opportunities that have become available. A thirty-nine year veteran educator, Dr. Flanagan has been an invaluable leader with the Greenwich Public Schools (GPS) for seventeen years, as Principal of Glenville School (1999-2005), Director of Human Resources (2005-2008), and an esteemed Deputy Superintendent (2008-2016).

Dr. Flanagan said, “I have loved working in the Greenwich Public Schools, particularly with the incredible staff and administrators. The decision to leave at this time was difficult to make. However, I have decided to focus on pursuing new career opportunities that have become available, roles which will provide me with new and exciting challenges and greater flexibility with my personal time.”

She continued with a heartfelt wish for the Greenwich community, “I have had extensive exposure to many schools in my career and travels throughout the tri-state area and can say with complete confidence that the Greenwich Public Schools excel in providing the highest quality instruction and leadership, innovative and rigorous curriculum and programs, and meaningful family and community engagement. The Greenwich Public Schools are among the top tier public schools in this country. My wish for the Greenwich community is that you embrace your public schools in recognition of the excellent education they provide, value the highly skilled and dedicated staff in word and in action, and never rest on your laurels, but strive for continuous improvement with a mindset that you are starting from a position of tremendous strength in professional expertise and student outcomes.”

Legacy of Leadership, Teaching and Learning Best Practices

Dr. Flanagan leaves a legacy of critical teaching and learning strategies, and management structures that have contributed significantly to improved student achievement and increased the instructional capacity of our highly skilled teachers and administrators.  In many cases these strategies were pioneering approaches that now serve as models throughout the state. Most notable is the GPS Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning (TEPL) plan. Working collaboratively with teachers and administrators, Dr. Flanagan initiated the development of the original plan in 2005 as Director of Human Resources. She continues to lead the TEPL Committee in their ongoing work to refine the expectations and processes as new best practices emerge and based on feedback from teachers’ and administrators’ experiences with the plan.

The District’s current school improvement planning processes, including the Data Team structure for continuous monitoring of students’ academic progress have been led by Dr. Flanagan.  Partnering with Assistant Superintendent Irene Parisi and building leaders, Dr. Flanagan organized the Network leadership and planning structure to increase decision-making at the building level and provide opportunities for greater collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Always striving for continuous improvement in student outcomes, Dr. Flanagan has been instrumental in establishing and supporting strategies for closing the achievement gap among students. One notable area of focus has been the successful increase of summer school attendance for students at risk academically. Dr. Flanagan has worked tirelessly with district administrators to develop strong programming options for elementary and secondary students and implemented a strategic marketing plan designed to attract participants to this outstanding summer opportunity to enrich and enhance student learning.  Under her guidance, the percentage of academically at-risk students attending summer school increased by 46% over the last five years and overall enrollment increased to an all time high of over 1,000 students in 2015.

Finally, Dr. Flanagan has been a model of effective leadership and leadership development. As Principal, she collaborated with and supported her colleagues, including leading a study group on Professional Learning Communities. As Director of Human Resources, she initiated the District’s first Administrator Aspirant program, encouraging and guiding talented teacher leaders into the roles of building administrators. As Deputy Superintendent, her daily work, which she describes as her “greatest joy,” is working in the schools and supporting building leaders and teachers alike. She has mentored more than twenty principals new to the role and/or the District as Deputy Superintendent.

Superintendent Comments

Superintendent of Schools Bill McKersie said, “Dr. Ellen Flanagan is one of the most knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate educators I have ever encountered. She will be sorely missed. Dr. Flanagan will leave an indelible imprint on this District through her work in mentoring our highly-skilled principals, pioneering our educator evaluation system, District and school improvement planning, and continuously identifying ways to close gaps in achievement, to name just a few of her many successes. She approaches every responsibility with tireless dedication and professionalism.

Dr. Flanagan understands the critical importance of establishing constructive relationships and addressing challenging and sensitive situations with high standards and compassion. She thrives on spending time at schools and in classrooms, working with teachers and school leaders to improve teaching and learning. I have valued Dr. Flanagan’s counsel and support and wish her all the best as she pursues the next chapter in her career.”

Board of Education Chair Comments

Board of Education Chair Laura Erickson said, “Dr. Ellen Flanagan has been an extraordinary contributor to the Greenwich Public Schools over the last 17 years. There are many District accomplishments during her tenure that owe a great deal to Dr. Flanagan.  In her role as Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Flanagan has guided building leadership at the elementary and middle school levels which directly impacts teaching and learning.  In particular, the Board wishes to recognize her role in improving the quality and attendance at the District summer school.”  

Ms. Erickson noted further, “Dr. Flanagan likes nothing more than to be out in schools offering feedback and sharing best practices.  She is the ‘go to’ person for so many people in the district.  Dr. Flanagan comes from a family steeped in education and helping students and teachers is her life’s mission.  We are grateful that Dr. Flanagan is able to remain with the District through August to ease the transition.  We wish Dr. Flanagan every success in the future.  She will always be part of the Greenwich Public School family.”

Greenwich Organization of School Administrators (GOSA) Comments

GOSA Co-president and Principal of North Mianus School Angela Schmidt said, “Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of working with many talented and capable educators. Rarely have I come across one who has had such a profound influence on my career and that of my colleagues.  Ellen Flanagan is a role model for dedication, passion, innovation, and caring. She is the first person an administrator turns to in times of crisis and in the best of times a cheerleader for our success.  We will miss her great sense of humor and most of all the support and focus she has provided us these past 17 years. On behalf of GOSA and myself, I wish Ellen every success in her future endeavors and am sure the footprints she will leave behind will remain with us long after she has moved on.”

The search for a new Deputy Superintendent will begin promptly.

Bio Brief: Ellen Flanagan

Dr. Ellen Flanagan was appointed as Deputy Superintendent for the Greenwich Public Schools in 2008. In this role, she supervised K-8 building principals, led instructional rounds, school improvement planning, the summer school program, and continued to manage the Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning (TEPL) plan she initiated as Director of Human Resources. As Director of Human Resources for the Greenwich Public Schools from 2005 to 2008, she was instrumental in the development and implementation of TEPL, a model throughout the State.  The TEPL plan clearly outlines the expectations that the District has for each of its teachers and provides a process for supporting teachers in continuous improvement. Dr. Flanagan was adept in her work with contract negotiations for multiple bargaining units and successfully systematized numerous Human Resource-related policies and procedures to ensure compliance with local, state, and national legislation. Dr. Flanagan began working for the Greenwich Public Schools as Principal of Glenville School in 1999 where she implemented a K-5 Literacy Program and a school-wide behavior program – Team Gator. She was an integral member of both the District and Administrative Professional Development Committees and led a Study Group on Professional Learning Communities.

Dr. Flanagan began her career as an educator in 1977 teaching first graders at Good Shepherd Elementary School in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1979, she moved to P.S. 229 and taught students with learning disabilities in grades 2-5. In 1988, Dr. Flanagan became Assistant Principal at P.S. 312K, a Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade school and three years later became Principal of the school. While at P.S. 312K, she developed and piloted an individualized math program for Johns Hopkins University, began the first inclusion program in the district, and was instrumental in constructing an Environmental Studies Center at the school. In 1996, Dr. Flanagan became Principal of Valley View School in Montville, N.J. where she created the first school web site for the district; organized Literacy Expos; and received a $10,000 grant to initiate a Parental Involvement Program, before joining the Greenwich Public Schools in 1999.

Dr. Flanagan received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education (1977); her master’s in reading (1980) and her Professional Diploma in Administration and Supervision (1984) from St. John’s University in New York, N.Y; and her Doctorate of Education from the University of Connecticut (2005).

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