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Kolek Rises to 'Lead Role' at New Canaan Schools

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – For Mary Kolek, the opportunity to become superintendent of New Canaan Public Schools is akin to being on stage with the spotlight shining brightly on her.

“This must be what it feels like to be tapped for a lead role in an acclaimed Broadway play,” Kolek said.

Come July 1, it will be showtime.

Kolek was officially approved Monday to take over as the next chief of the New Canaan school district after a unanimous vote by the Board of Education. The vote brings to a close the nationwide search to find the successor to the retiring David Abbey. Abbey announced last October that he would retire at the end of the school year.

Kolek smiled broadly as she talked about her appointment. She praised the New Canaan community for its dedication to education and for viewing education as “a moral imperative and an investment in the future.”

“To be selected to lead such a district is an honor and a privilege,” said Kolek, who has worked as deputy superintendent in New Canaan since 2004. She came to New Canaan after working as principal as Weston High School for six years.

School board member Penny Rashin said Kolek had everything stakeholders and town residents wanted from a school leader, including experience as a principal as well as previous administrative experience and a vision. “I am really looking forward to the excitement and energy that’s going to continue to move New Canaan education forward,” Rashin said.

Board member Jim Kucharczyk said he was certain Kolek would not allow New Canaan Schools to become complacent. “I’m delighted that Mary is in this role, because I have no fear that good enough will ever be good enough,” he said.

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