Greenwich faculties offers everlasting title to its chief of particular training
GREENWICH — Stacey Heiligenthaler was officially appointed chief officer of special education and student supports for the Greenwich Public Schools, removing her interim title, Superintendent Toni Jones announced Wednesday.
“Over a very short period, Dr. Heiligenthaler has led our special education department with significant progress in our long- and short-term goals, including the creation of the comprehensive Special Education Action Plan,” Jones said in a statement.
“She is committed to enhancing academic success for all students and access to programs, protocols, practices and compliance across the entire district with tremendous compassion, responsiveness and professionalism,” Jones said.
Heiligenthaler has served as the district’s interim chief officer of special education and student supports since July 1.
“Greenwich Public Schools is comprised of an amazing group of administrators, staff, parents and students that welcome our collaborative efforts,” Heiligenthaler said. “Together as a group, we have completed amazing work over the past seven months, but it is only the beginning. We all look forward to the critical and rewarding work ahead of us.”
In her role, Heiligenthaler works with the special education team to create a collaborative and supportive environment with families and students; monitors the implementation and compliance with state and federal laws, regulations and guidelines on special education and related services; and maintains student supports for social and emotional learning and the mental health of students.
She has played a key role in leading the “Special Education Action Plan 2021-2024” to create positive change in culture, climate, process, instruction and compliance, Jones said.
The Greenwich Board of Education is scheduled to discuss that Special Education Action Plan at its retreat at 7 pm Thursday at Central Middle School.
The special education department has been the target of scrutiny in recent years, drawing complaints from many parents, and was considered out of step with modern techniques.
Last summer, outside consultants delivered a report that outlined recommended improvements needed in the embattled special education program. The 167-page full report from Public Consulting Group includes 28 recommendations for the district.
Heiligenthaler replaced Mary Forde, who announced her resignation as chief PPS officer in April 2021.
Before her time in Greenwich, Heiligenthaler served as director of pupil personnel services for Norwalk Public Schools and had also served in several other leadership roles, including assistant director of specialized learning and student services and special education and student services administrator.
Heiligenthaler also served as special education and student services facilitator for Darien Public Schools.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in intensive special needs and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Boston University; a master’s degree in human development with an emphasis on elementary education with crosscultural language and academic development from Pacific Oaks College; a master’s degree in legal studies with high honors from Santa Barbara College of Law; and a doctorate in organizational systems from Saybrook University.
Heiligenthaler also completed graduate coursework in finance, supervision and instructional leadership, data-driven decisions for school improvement and curriculum from Grand Canyon University.