Former special ed administrator hired in Massachusetts

Former special education director Deirdre Osypuk went back to work last month in a Massachusetts school district.

The Quaboag Regional school committee unanimously approved Osypuk's hire on April 14, according to a statement from Superintendent Brett Kustigian.

"I am confident that the Quaboag Regional School District has hired the best person to assume the new role of the Director of Student Support Services," Kustigian said in his statement.

Osypuk started in her role on June 1, Kustigian said, who has found her to be "competent, personable and student-centered."

Osypuk could not be reached for comment.

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Osypuk fell under heavy scrutiny during the 2012-13 school year and went on paid administrative leave June 17, following an investigation into the special education department that confirmed multiple areas of noncompliance with state law. She resigned on Jan. 21.

In March 2013, a group of parents filed a complaint with the state Department of Education claiming that the Darien Public Schools violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by removing the "team aspect" of the Planning and Placement Team meetings, at which students' programs and goals for the year are determined. At a later meeting with state education department representatives, allegations were made that Individual Education Plans were changed after PPTs and services were not being provided. Those allegations were found by the state to be true.

Osypuk claimed, in the final report from independent investigator Sue Gamm, that the problems within the special education department were inherited from the previous administration, which was led by Robin Pavia.

Osypuk maintained that the actions she took were in response to direction given to her from the board and administration, according to a June 24 letter Osypuk sent to the state Department of Education.

"The Board of Education made it very clear to me that `things were out of control' and they wanted change and they wanted it immediately," Osypuk wrote, according to Gamm's report. "The BOE asked if I had read the Badway independent study, which provided insight into some of the issues of the special education department. The superintendent made it very clear to me that I was hired to put processes and procedures into place, which I did."

Of the 16 total applicants for the Quaboag position, Osypuk was one of the seven finalists to be interviewed by the search committee, according to Kustigian.

The search committee chose Osypuk as the sole finalist for the school committee to interview.

Osypuk's new school district is aware of the issues that arose in Darien.

"Prior to being hired by the Quaboag Regional School District, Dr. Osypuk disclosed several issues that occurred while she was employed in Darien," Kustigian's release said. "The superintendent and the Quaboag Regional School Committee reviewed these issues and we remain confident that we hired the best person to assume the role of director of student support services for the Quaboag Regional School District."; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews