Superintendent of Schools Dan Brenner, almost three years after coming to Darien Public Schools, announced at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting that he is negotiating a “once in a lifetime” job offer from a private school.
Brenner said he was approached with the opportunity and that he was informing the public and the Board of Education “because of how late it is in the school year and the obvious need to start a process for my replacement.”
In his prepared statement, which he read to the board, Brenner didn’t hint at any dissatisfaction with his job in Darien. Instead, he described the job opportunity as too enticing to ignore: “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.”
The superintendent said he didn’t want to identify the name of the school or provide any other specifics “because I am in the final stages of negotiations,” but he expected negotiations to conclude in about a week. At that point, he would officially hand in his resignation, and the extra week would allow the Board of Education to make tentative preparations to search for a new superintendent.
Brenner took the job after an acting superintendent had run the school district for a year, following a special education scandal in which the state Department of Education declared Darien schools had not been following state law on special education.
He hired nearly all of the school district’s top staff, along with principals in some schools. Changes in the way the district provides special education, some of them already made by the acting superintendent, were altered further during Brenner’s administration.
Brenner negotiated with neighbors of Darien High School to come to an agreement to get lighting at night for a limited number of sports games, and he reorganized academic department lines of authority, hiring department heads at the middle school and high school.
He also was involved with construction projects to replace school sports fields, the Darien High School cafeteria, a possible track around the Darien High School campus and planning to rebuild or replace Ox Ridge School. Brenner also started the Fitch Academy, based on his experiences with similar programs on Long Island.
Brenner’s Full Statement
Here’s the full text of Brenner’s 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 to 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 than I could possibly go into now. Darien is truly lucky to have her. I appreciate the opportunity that I have had. Thank you.