NEWPORT CITY â€“ Eileen Illuzzi of Derby is the new interim director of the North Country Career Center. The North Country Union High School Board made the official announcement last week. Illuzzi will replace Richard Hoffman who did not renew his contract and is pursuing other interests.
Illuzzi has been assistant director for three years. Illuzzi applied for the position three years ago. Back then, Illuzzi was the Adult Services Coordinator.
â€śI told the committee that I wanted this center to succeed,â€ť said Illuzzi. â€śAt that point, they wanted to have someone with more experience. Now, three years later, I do have experience, because I have been assistant director for three years.â€ť
Illuzzi, whose salary had been $63,775, will receive an additional $15,000 stipend to be the interim director from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. During that time, Illuzzi will set goals with North Country Superintendent Robert Kern and the Regional Advisory Board.Â
Kern will evaluate Illuzziâ€™s performance in February. Board members will decide then if they will renew Illuzziâ€™s contract or start another search. Illuzzi doesnâ€™t know how many candidates actually applied for the position this time around.
Illuzzi, who is starting a new three-year contract as assistant director, also starts her new position July 1. However, she has already taken on some director duties.
Illuzzi isnâ€™t sure if she will hold both positions at the same time.
â€śWe have to figure how thatâ€™s going to work out,â€ť she said. â€śWe havenâ€™t talked about that yet.â€ť
Illuzzi had been in charge of the career center whenever Hoffman wasnâ€™t at the school.Â
Illuzzi has plans to forge good relationships with the staff. The teachers, she said, are fabulous, but need leadership and support. That will look different for each teacher, said Illuzzi.
â€śThe goal is to have each of our students succeed and that canâ€™t happen unless the teachers have everything they need,â€ť said Illuzzi. â€śIn the next year, Iâ€™d like to focus on bringing the staff together.â€ť
Each student can be successful but needs the necessary skills to help in whatever he or she chooses, said Illuzzi, who has written grants to bring additional programs to the center. Some of those programs will start in the fall. The center doesnâ€™t want to keep adding programs, but needs to change with the times, said Illuzzi, who wants to expand the duel enrollment program.
â€śThatâ€™s free college credits for our students,â€ť Illuzzi explained. â€śFor a lot of our students, thatâ€™s the difference between going to college and not going to college. If they already have one semester paid for, thatâ€™s really an incentive to go on.â€ť
Illuzzi also wants to expand the programs offered for adults.
Illuzzi has a Masterâ€™s Degree in Administration and Management from St. Michealâ€™s College plus a number of graduate level courses.