Two educators who taught in Darien schools take administrative posts in other districts

Two educators who have spent time teaching in the Darien Public Schools have taken new jobs as administrators in other school districts in Connecticut.

Steven Groccia, who taught kindergarten at Holmes Elementary School in Darien this past school year and has been a grade-level leader, is joining the New Fairfield Public Schools.

He will be one of the new assistant principals on the campus of Meeting House Hill School and the new Consolidated Early Learning Academy.

“He has an extensive background as well in leadership,” new campus Principal Allyson Story said last week, noting Groccia’s additional experience as a lacrosse coach in Newtown.

Groccia’s view on teamwork was “one of the things that shined in his interview,” and he came with “great recommendations,” Story said.

The combined campus will have three assistant principals. The other two will be Jennifer Hilderbrand, a New Fairfield resident with two children in the school district who is coming from a job as a fifth-grade teacher at Ridgefield’s Barlow Mountain Elementary School, and Robert Spino, who had been principal at the former Consolidated School.

The posts were created after the district decided to shake up the leadership structure of New Fairfield’s two elementary schools, which will share a campus next fall.

The new Consolidated Early Learning Academy, a 44,000-square-foot addition to Meeting House Hill School for preschool through second-graders, will replace the former Consolidated School. The addition is on track to be completed by the start of next school year.

Also, Kimberly Paladino, who was a teacher in the Darien Public Schools for nearly nine years after starting with the New Canaan Public Schools in 2007, has taken an administrative job with the Greenwich Public Schools.

She will be the new coordinator of the K-8 English Arts Program effective July 1, Superintendent Toni Jones announced last week.

A Greenwich native, Paladino will be responsible for designing, developing and evaluating the K-8 English Language Arts instructional program for the Greenwich Public Schools.

Paladino has diverse experience as an educator, working most recently as a literacy specialist at New Lebanon School in the GPS since August 2021. In that job, she planned, delivered and monitored progress of Tier 2 and Tier 3 remedial reading interventions and collaborated with administration, classroom teachers and specialists on all literacy-related topics.

From 2017 through 2021, Paladino worked at Stamford Public Schools, first as an Individualized Education Program compliance support teacher and then as Science Research Based Interventions support teacher.

“I am honored and excited to be joining the district’s academic team as the new K-8 English Language Arts coordinator,” Paladino said. “I look forward to working collaboratively with administrators, teachers, parents, students and the community in order to enhance literacy instruction and support achievement for all students.”