Letter: A great educator just slipped through our fingers

To the Editor:
I am moved to write this letter because a great educator is slipping through our fingers. As Scotland mom Patty Labozzo recently wrote in the Press, “Mr. Santasiero, a Ridgefield resident, brought a lightness back to SES that was missing for so long. [...] Our family was grateful for the grounding stability Mr. Santasiero gave our school community, the respect, encouragement and empowerment he gave our teachers and staff, and the level of education, joy and communion he brought to our children.” 
As a highly skilled and experienced educator, William Santasiero (Mr. S), transformed the Morris Street Elementary School in Danbury, which struggled for many years, into a School of Distinction, with a Blue Ribbon honor. I believe that only one of our Ridgefield schools has ever earned that honor, and it was awarded almost ten years ago.
After working with Mr. S at Morris Street School in Danbury and witnessing his magic, I submitted his name to the BOE.  In just three months, Scotland was transformed into a peaceful sanctuary of learning.
As a Ridgefield resident for twenty years with four children -- two currently enrolled, and two already graduated from RPS, I have been a close observer of the Ridgefield Public Schools. I am grateful to the many wonderful and masterful teachers, dedicated staff and excellent in-school administrators. However, after attending many BOE meetings, and witnessing the attack on world languages, the incomprehensible attempt to end student/teacher writing conferences for high school juniors as they begin their college applications, the thousands of wasted taxpayer dollars spent on consultants generating inane surveys and unending discussions that clumsily distort English into education babble, I am dismayed and disheartened by many of the administration’s decisions. I truly can’t fathom why a highly skilled and proven educator wasn’t hired and cherished. What a loss to the Ridgefield Public School community!

Caroline Chanin

Ridgefield, Dec. 13