In a closing statement that left jaws dropping at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Feser announced the hiring of Mayor James L. Richetelli, Jr. as the new Deputy Superintendent of Operations for Milford Public Schools.
Richetelli, who has served as mayor for the City of Milford for 10 years, applied for the position after current Deputy Superintendent of Operations, Philip G. Russell, announced his retirement last fall. Russell continued to work in the district as an interim consultant until a new superintendent and his replacement were named.
Richetelli is expected to step into his new position in November 2011 when his term as mayor concludes. Russell will continue to serve in the schools position until that time.
Richetelli called the decision to not seek re-election “extremely difficult, because I have truly cherished serving the citizens of Milford first as Alderman in the 1980s and 1990s and, most recently, as Mayor.
“But this type of opportunity comes along once in a lifetime, and I am excited to begin a new challenge as Deputy Superintendent of Operations. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to continue serving Milford in a new way. I am flattered in the confidence that Superintendent Feser has shown in me, and I look forward with great enthusiasm to joining Dr. Feser, Mike Cummings and the entire team at Milford Public Schools.”
Feser’s prepared announcement revealed that there were 33 applications from “highly qualified” applicants throughout the state and the northeast. After a series of interviews and reference checks, Richetelli “emerged as the top candidate and was selected unanimously for the position based on his vast experience, both in the community and in his professional career prior to becoming mayor of the city.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Feser said she is “excited about what [Richetelli] brings to the position.” According to one member of the Board of Education, the selection was made by the “Cabinet” which consists of Feser, Michael Cummings, Russell and Wendy Kopazna, human resources director for Milford Schools.
The position of director of operations consists of overseeing all support systems for the district, i.e.: business office, purchasing, food services, maintenance, custodial services, insurance and transportation, according to Russell.
“I feel very good that the school system won’t miss a beat when I step down because they have a well-qualified person,” Russell said.
Dr. Mark Stapleton, chairman of the Board of Education, reiterated the feelings of Feser, saying he is “very excited” to have Richetelli on board.