Posted Date: 06/04/2021
As part of the new strategic framework adopted on May 18 by the Norwalk Board of Education, a new structure was approved for districtwide leadership positions. Dr. Alexandra Estrella, superintendent, has confirmed appointments for the following positions: assistant superintendent of business and operations, assistant superintendent for digital learning, chief of staff and communications, and chief financial officer. All will report directly to the superintendent.
Las Escuelas Públicas de Norwalk anuncia nombramientos de altos dirigentes
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations
Sandra Faioes has been appointed assistant superintendent of business and operations. Faioes will oversee the district’s processes in facilities, food services, health and safety and transportation, ensuring alignment and coordination of these services to the mission and strategic priorities of Norwalk Public Schools. Faioes will manage the implementation of the district’s comprehensive facilities plan, including new construction and renovations, critical building maintenance, and space modifications to ensure that students are learning in an environment that supports education, activities, safety and security. Her role will also work closely with the chief financial officer to ensure systems are aligned.
Faioes joined Norwalk Public Schools in 2013, where she has served as director of school improvement for the past two years. In this position, Faioes led the health and safety subcommittee for the district’s Covid-19 reopening plan, collaborating with building and community leaders in developing protocols for returning students to in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year. Her accomplishments also include writing, securing and managing nearly $30 million in grants, including entitlement grants, CARES Act grants, and several competitive grants. Additionally, Faioes has worked with school leaders to establish School Improvement Plans aligned to district priorities, facilitated training with School Governance Councils, and worked with the City to engage stakeholders in the planning of the new Jefferson Elementary School.
Prior to her most recent role, Faioes served as principal of Brookside Elementary School. She was also a curriculum and instruction site director, and instructional coach and reading specialist at Norwalk Pathways Academy. Faioes began her educational career as a teacher in Boston Public Schools. She also served as the interim humanities program director, literacy coach for the district’s Secondary English Language Arts department, and was humanities department head and grade 1 team leader for The Engineering School in Boston.
Faioes anticipates completion of her doctoral degree from the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education in May 2023. She holds Connecticut certifications for Intermediate Administration and Supervision (092) and Superintendents of Schools Certification (093). Faioes earned a certificate of advanced graduate studies in educational leadership from Simmons College. She holds a Master of Arts in education as well as a Bachelor of Arts in English and Black Studies, both from Boston College. Faioes is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole.
Assistant Superintendent of Digital Learning and Innovation
Ralph Valenzisi has been appointed assistant superintendent for digital learning and innovation. Valenzisi will be responsible for planning, organizing and providing direction to ensure the district remains a leader in digital learning. Working closely with the assistant superintendent of schools, Valezisi will lead the development of long-term technology and digital learning plans, innovative instructional strategies, workforce development opportunities, and career and technical education. In this position, Valenzisi will oversee all information systems activities. His responsibilities will also include developing partnerships with businesses and charitable foundations to generate support for district goals.
Valenzisi was appointed chief of digital learning and development for Norwalk Public Schools in 2013, where he has been responsible for educational technology, library media services, and oversight of foundation and philanthropic funding. Prior to joining NPS, he served as vice president for informational and instructional technology at GEMS Education and Global Partnership Schools for North and South America. He also served as a consultant to various school systems, assessing and developing educational technology plans. Previously, Valenzisi served as director of technology for Norwalk Public Schools, educational technology coordinator for New Haven Public Schools and was a classroom teacher at Stamford Public Schools.
He is currently an adjunct faculty member at Fairfield University in the Educational Technology and School Library Media Program. Valenzisi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University, Master of Science from the University of Bridgeport, and Sixth-Year Diploma in Educational Administration from Southern CT State University. He has recently earned a certificate in educational finance from Georgetown University. He is a member of Microsoft’s K12 Advisory Group, co-chair of Connecticut Educational Technology Leaders and the advisory board for K12Digest.
Chief of Staff and Communications
Brenda Wilcox Williams has been appointed to the position of chief of staff and communications. This new role will be responsible for planning and executing districtwide internal and external communications, promoting family engagement, and leading the development of a district Family Center. Williams will also serve as the superintendent’s liaison for monitoring and facilitating the progress of staff-led projects and initiatives, taking responsibility for complex short-term assignments and strategic problem solving.
Williams joined Norwalk Public Schools in December 2013 to lead the development of a robust communications program for Norwalk Public Schools. Under her leadership, the district has launched new vehicles to reach families and communities, including an active social media presence, public forums, annual State of the Schools report to the community, and award-winning internal and external e-newsletters in both English and Spanish. Most recently, she has led the planning and implementation of a comprehensive program to keep families and staff informed during Covid-19 challenges.
Williams has extensive corporate and agency experience prior to joining NPS, as well as deep experience in establishing cross-functional relationships, and in collaborating and managing projects across departments. She was senior director of corporate communications for Daymon Worldwide, where she established the first corporate communications department for this global leader in retail services and private brand development. Previously, Williams served in a variety of communications roles for the companies that now make up Anheuser-Busch InBev. As global director of internal communications for AB InBev, she developed programs reaching the company’s 120,000 global employees. She also served as director of business communications for Anheuser-Busch, working with major national and international media. Prior to that, she spent seven years as vice president of corporate affairs for InBev USA.
Williams holds a Juris Doctor from Pace University School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the nationally recognized Pace Environmental Law Review. She earned a Bachelor of Science in communications from Boston University.
Chief Financial Officer
Tom Hamilton will continue in the role of chief financial officer. Hamilton joined NPS in October 2015, and is responsible for managing the financial affairs of the district, including budget preparation and execution, capital planning, accounting, financial reporting, payroll, purchasing and accounts payable.
Prior to being appointed at Norwalk Public Schools, Hamilton served as the chief financial officer for the City of Norwalk. His responsibilities included managing all financial operations for the City of Norwalk, including accounting, financial reporting, payroll, treasury/cash management, budget preparation and execution, internal audit, risk management, purchasing and central services. His accomplishments included guiding the city through the 2008 financial crisis, helping to maintain Norwalk’s top bond rating, and managing the implementation of three citywide property revaluations. Previously, Hamilton served as director of administration for the City of Stamford, an appointment he held for seven years, as well as finance director for the City of West Haven.
In 2017, Hamilton was appointed by the Governor to serve as a member of the Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB). Hamilton holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Management from the University of Maine.