By Izaskun Larraneta
Before the start of the 2015-16 School Convocation on Tuesday at Waterford High School, Giard stood in the auditorium-field house lobby and shook hands with teachers and staff.
It was their first opportunity to get to know him before the start of the new school year Wednesday.
"I know about Waterford schools on paper, but what I really want to do during my first year is to listen to teachers and the community," Giard said. "I want to hear from them what works and doesn't work."
Giard recently was hired after a four-month search to replace Superintendent Jerome Belair. Dr. H. Kaye Griffin took over as interim superintendent on July 1 and will help Giard with the transition.
Giard has roots in eastern Connecticut. He grew up in Griswold, where his parents still live. His mother is a teacher at Griswold Elementary School.
He said Waterford always has been on his list of places where he would like to work because the district has an excellent reputation.
He told the teachers and staff that even though he has been an administrator for the past 11 years, most recently as Meriden's assistant superintendent for personnel and staff development, he's still a teacher at heart.
"I'm not one to forget my roots in the classroom," he said.
He taught middle school in Salem and Columbia in the mid-1990s and served as assistant principal in Colchester. He then served in Montville as a middle school assistant principal and principal.
On Tuesday Giard shared with faculty and staff his five core beliefs: collaboration matters; keep students at the center; be clear and unequivocal about the "why"; the incalculable power of "hello" and the immeasurable power of a smile; and an investment in you is an investment in our students.
"People can accomplish more together," Giard said. "... you must instill those values in your students. Every decision I make, I am mindful of how it will impact our students."
Giard also said he wants to help teachers feel inspired and challenged. He said when teachers are allowed to grow and pursue their dreams, they become better at what they do and their students can only benefit from that.
"I pride myself at being approachable," Giard said. "I come to work with two key attributes — hope and passion."
Assistant Superintendent Craig Powers said at the convocation that the school district hired 27 faculty and staff members and numerous substitutes and interns.
Thomas Giard, III, right, the new Waterford school superintendent, shakes hands with Jay Miner, director of Waterford Public School Buildings and Grounds after addressing faculty members comprised of all the Waterford Public Schools, during a staff convocation in the auditorium of the Waterford High School Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. Dr. H. Kaye Griffin, interim superintendent, background center, looks on.
|Thomas Giard, III, the new Waterford school superintendent, addresses faculty members comprised of all the Waterford Public Schools, during a staff convocation in the auditorium of Waterford High School Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015.|