CFO and Talent Director among important appointments made Monday by BOE

BOE appoints CFO and Talent Director to round out Central Office leadership and align to School Change goals; Board also votes on appointments of Human Resources Director, Academy Principal at Hillhouse, and Principal of new Elm City Montessori
NEW HAVEN – The Board of Education on Monday voted to hire Baltimore schools finance chief Victor De La Paz as Chief Financial Officer for the district, a key part of Superintendent Garth Harries’ plan to reorganize Central Office leadership and strengthen budget strategy in the district. De La Paz currently serves as Chief Financial Officer for Baltimore City Public Schools and previously served in various cabinet roles while at Hartford Public Schools. His appointment reflects the district’s emphasis on maintaining discipline and control of district finances while also aligning budget strategies with the goals of School Change.
The board also voted to hire Barnard Principal Michael Crocco as Talent Director, a key position designed to coordinate and strengthen leadership development, teacher evaluations, staff development with the goal of ensuring the best talent in our schools and district working in service to students. The decision to appoint Crocco was made in consultation with the Talent Council, a committee of teachers and administrators who make oversee administration of the Professional Educators Program (PEP) Grant.
The appointments of De La Paz and Crocco round out the Superintendent’s Central Office leadership team and represent another step toward achieving the goals of School Change – eliminating the achievement gap with the state, dramatically decreasing the drop-out rate, and ensuring that all students have the knowledge and resources to succeed in college, career and life. De La Paz brings experience and knowledge of both business and education worlds. Before serving Baltimore schools as Chief Financial Officer, he worked in Hartford Public Schools creating school governance councils and then overseeing finances for the district. As Principal at Barnard Environmental Magnet Studies School, Crocco led transformation of climate and improved academics at one of the district’s first Tier III schools. He also played a role in the creation of the district’s teacher evaluation system, which has become a model for other school districts. Both leaders’ resumes are attached.
While the CFO is a new position in the district, funding for the position comes from the elimination of the assistant superintendent position vacated by Harries when he was appointed as Superintendent. The Talent Director position will be supported entirely with funding from the PEP grant.
Also Monday, the board made the following additional appointments:
·         Donna Aiello – Human Resources Director (currently serving as acting HR Director, and Staff Development Supervisor previously)
·         Zakiyyah Baker – Academy Principal at Hillhouse (currently serving as assistant principal at Hillhouse and graduate of NHPS Leadership Residency program with Achievement First)
·         Alissa Levy – Principal Elm City Montessori School (coming to New Haven from the Grove School, a public Montessori school in Redlands, CA)
“Victor De La Paz brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and refreshing ideas to the district in a new role that is designed to lead budget strategies to ensure the success and sustainability of School Change. I welcome him to the district and look forward to working with him to strengthen district finances,” said Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries.
“All of tonight’s appointments are exemplary leaders who work incredibly hard on behalf of children and families. Mike Crocco will take our talent initiatives to a higher level. Donna Aiello is doing a great job as acting HR director and will continue strengthening the office. Zakiyyah Baker will lead an academy at Hillhouse that will open new doors and create limitless possibilities for Hillhouse students. And Alissa Levy will help the district get its first public charter Montessori school off the ground next fall. I welcome and congratulation all of these leaders,” Superintendent Harries said.
De La Paz is in Baltimore and could not be at tonight’s meeting. He issued the following statement about his appointment:
“Returning to Connecticut and joining one of the most promising urban districts in the country is very exciting for me and my family.  New Haven Public Schools has all of the ingredients to become a world-class school system, all within a context of school and community diversity that is simply inspiring.  Joining NHPS as the first CFO the district has had in many years is an honor and a challenge I look forward to taking on."