Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting began with a major announcement from Superintendent Dr. Dan Brenner. After three years leading the Darien school administration, Brenner informed the Board of Education that he plans to tender his resignation within one week. Brenner read the news from a prepared statement, and at times had to pause and gather himself as he delivered the news.
Brenner’s full statement:
Three years ago I was given the incredible opportunity to lead the Darien Public Schools. During that time I have been able to build an incredible administrative team that has worked alongside me toward fulfilling countless District and Board goals inside of fiscally responsible budgets. A clear vision for excellence has become our standard inclusive of all academic and non-academic areas.Just recently, I have been approached with a once in a lifetime opportunity to run a private school that is something that I could not overlook. Unfortunately, I cannot go into more specifics, including the name of the school because I am in the final stages of negotiations.I anticipate they will conclude in no more than a week. When and if the negotiations are successfully completed I will tender my resignation to Darien.I am taking this unusual step of informing the Board and community prior to officially obtaining the position because of how late it is in the school year and the obvious need to start a process for my replacement. I am very aware of the challenges this presents to the Board and hope this small act will help them achieve that goal.I have been blessed to work with a supportive board since I arrived in Darien. They have been partners in our initiatives, always acted in the most professional of ways and challenged me to be the best superintendent I could be. This year the leadership of the Board has worked in the most collaborative of ways to help guide the administration toward best practices.Finally, our Board Chair has been the model of class, worked tirelessly as she helped guide the district in more ways that I could possibly go into now. Darien is truly lucky to have her.I appreciate the opportunity that I have had.Thank you
“Three years ago I was given the incredible opportunity to lead Darien public schools,” Brenner said in his opening, adding, “a clear vision of excellence has become our standard.”
Brenner said in his prepared statement that, while he is unable to disclose much information, he has been presented with, “a once in a lifetime opportunity,” to run a private school. Brenner said he is currently in the final stages of negotiations, which he expects to be completed within a week, “at which time I will tender my resignation,” Brenner said.
Brenner credited the leadership in Darien and on the Board of Education for, “working in the most collaborative of ways.” Brenner also called Chairman Tara Ochman, “the model of class,” who had, “worked tirelessly to guide the district.”
“I’m truly appreciative of the opportunity that I was granted, and I want to thank everyone for their support,” Brenner closed.
Brenner came to Darien schools from his position as superintendent in Roslyn, New York on July 1, 2015. Brenner arrived in the wake of a special education scandal, as was tasked with leading the district back into the good graces of the community and leading the schools forward with a focus on transparency and best practices. Brenner replaced interim superintendent Lynne Pierson, who took the reins in November 2014.
In Brenner’s three years, the district has seen a number of major projects and initiatives impact the schools. The one to one technology initiative, which brings a chromebook or ipad to every student at Middlesex and DHS respectively, has been viewed by the board and community as a continued success. Brenner also developed and implemented Fitch Academy, an alternative program for DHS students that will be expanding in the coming school year in the wake of a successful pilot year. Brenner also worked collaboratively with community members, town officials, and local organizations to erect the stadium lights at Darien High School after years of debate.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to begin the process of searching for a replacement as soon as Brenner’s resignation was received.
Board of Ed Chairman Tara Ochman said she could not yet fully comment until Brenner’s formal resignation is received.
“I can say that while surprising, we understand Dr. Brenner feels he has incredible opportunity and we appreciate him keeping us abreast of the situation,” Ochman said.