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Greenwich Principal Takes Leave During Probe

GREENWICH, Conn. — The principal of Central Middle School is taking a leave of absence as the district investigates a report revealed by Greenwich Time about allegations made 15 years ago involving her care of children at a day care center.

Shelley Somers was hired by the district in fall 2009 and took over as principal in January 2010. Previously, Somers worked at the former Cornflakes Day Care Center in East Granby, where she had surrendered her day-care license and agreed not to work in a facility in the state for five years after several incidents concerning the care and supervision of children.

Greenwich Time was given a story from the Hartford Courant from March 27, 1996, stating Somers allegedly left a sleeping child alone in a van for 45 minutes while other children from the center were at a performance of “Babes in Toyland” at the University of Hartford. In addition, a toddler allegedly ingested Advil while in her care.

Somers made an agreement with the Cornflakes Day Care Center to resign and give up her license. Under the agreement she never admitted guilt or denied the allegations.

Here is a letter from Interim Superintendent Roger Lulow to Central Middle School parents, announcing Somers’ leave of absence:

Dear Central Middle School Parents:

Late yesterday, a local reporter forwarded an article to us from 1996 about Shelley Somers and action taken with regard to her license as a day care provider.

When the Greenwich Public Schools hired Ms. Somers in 2009, we followed the standard hiring processes, including interviews, site visits, fingerprinting, background and reference checks, etc. Ms. Somers’ experience and affiliation with the preschool referenced in the article was not shared with or otherwise discovered by the Greenwich Public Schools during the interview and hiring process.

The Greenwich Public Schools take seriously its responsibility to assure that its school leaders are fit for that responsibility. At this point, we have made no findings, but rather we are investigating the situation as reported to determine the facts and the response, if any, by the Greenwich Public Schools. During that investigation, Ms. Somers will be on administrative leave without prejudice. To assure that the instructional programs at Central Middle School are not disrupted in any way, Assistant Principal Jo Frame will serve as Acting Principal.

This will be a difficult time for Shelley, her family and the entire Central Middle School community. We hope to complete the investigation as quickly as possible and will provide whatever support necessary for Central Middle School during this time.

Sincerely,

Roger J. Lulow

Superintendent of Schools

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