DHHS Principal Barbara Britton Retiring At The End Of School Year

Britton has been part of high school staff since 1990. The position has been posted. Applications are being received during the month of February.


Daniel Hand High School Principal Barbara Britton will retire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, school officials announced Monday afternoon.

The position has been posted and applications are being accepted through the month of February, school officials say.

Madison Public School Superintendent Thomas Scarice praised Britton as a consumate professional who will be missed.

Madison Board of Education Chairman Debra Frey thanked Britton for her many years of service to the school system. 

Barbara’s retirement will leave a tremendous void to fill at Daniel Hand High School," Frey said. "On behalf of the Madison Board of Education, I want to thank her for her years of service and the contribution she has made to the Madison Public Schools. I wish her only the best as she departs the district and enters this well-deserved chapter in her life."

Here is the full release from the Madison Public School System:

Madison, CT – Daniel Hand High School Principal, Barbara Britton, has rendered her intent to retire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. Mrs. Britton has been an integral part of the Daniel Hand High School staff since her arrival in August of 1990. She started her career with the Madison Public Schools as Science Coordinator at Daniel Hand High School. She took over a department of veteran teachers and immediately won their respect and cooperation. In four short years thereafter, her varied experience as a teacher, department head, curriculum writer and trainer of teachers, along with a style that encouraged support and cooperation, earned her the position of Assistant Principal in 1994. It was a natural progression to assume the role of Principal when the position became available in 2004. The impressive student achievement levels at Daniel Hand are the direct result of Mrs. Britton’s skilled administrative leadership, strategic instructional focus and effective professional collaboration among school staff. She will be missed.


Input from Superintendent

“This will be a big loss for the district.  Barbara is the consummate professional.  She brings so much to the position of principal.  Her leadership, wisdom, and perhaps above all, her integrity, will leave a legacy for those that follow.  I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with Barbara during my time in Madison.”



Input from BOE Chair

“Barbara’s retirement will leave a tremendous void to fill at Daniel Hand High School. On behalf of the Madison Board of Education, I want to thank her for her years of service and the contribution she has made to the Madison Public Schools. I wish her only the best as she departs the district and enters this well-deserved chapter in her life.”



The Daniel Hand High School Principal position has been posted. Applications are being received during the month of February. Interviews will be conducted during the month of March with the goal of naming a new principal sometime in the spring.

Let us know what you'd like to see in the next DHHS principal. What should administrators take into consideration when they make that hiring decision? Let us know in the comments below. Comments are being moderated.

Robert Bracer February 05, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Good bye Babs, you've lived off the laurels for way to many years for a school system whose best days are behind us. The MPS system has been in a steady decline, eclipsed by the GPS the last few years as the jewel of the shore line. Never a strong leader and certainly not a visionary, both attributes needed in a school system like Madison. Hope the BOE has the ability to find a new principal worthy of the task.
Ann February 05, 2013 at 06:26 PM
There are apparently going to be a lot of retirements at the end of this year, including the head of guidance. I liked Barbara. She was much more focused on the students than on the parents, letting them take the lead with respect to clubs and school activities. The trimester system was supposed to allow more elective choices and I think also accommodate the population bubble but had the unfortunate side effect of leaving a lot of students with less than a year of world language and math for their junior and senior years. However, the science program stayed strong. And now that the population is decreasing again, there seem to be plans to bring the lanquage program back to a full year. My request for the new principal would be that he / she have SOME background in math, since most of our administrators are self professed "literary people" with not much love of or experience with math.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 05, 2013 at 11:39 PM
I'm a little disappointed people would use her resignation announcement to slam Barbara, and Dan. Still, being a school administrator in a town like Madison means you know how to deal with criticism, I'm sure. Barbara, thanks for all you've done for the Madison School System and the kindness and enthusiasm you've shown to the students over the years. Dan, best of luck, if you are a candidate. I'm sure there are many strong candidates and Madison would be lucky to have you as a principal, if it's something you're interested in. And I'm sure you've both had plenty of experience dealing with cranky parents over the years (including me sometimes! oh boy ... remember that time ... oh, never mind ... ). Barbara I hope you have lots of great memories as well. Best of luck in your future endeavors.
Mike Atkins February 06, 2013 at 12:39 AM
Pem, no matter how much you may like Dan Zittoun he is not qualified for the position and hopefully he decides not to apply. I am assuming you or your children never had any real interactions with Mr. Zittoun, because if you had you wouldn't be promoting him for the position so strongly.
Matt February 06, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Is anyone going to explain WHY they believe she or Dan are so terrible to back up such strong complaints?
Denise February 06, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Pem, I am also disappointed someone would so quickly attack Dan Zittoun! I currently have a child in Hand and another 3 right behind her. I would be estatic if Dan Zittoun would become the next principal! He has been nothing but helpful to this first time high school parent. I have bombarded him with questions and he is always quick to respond and very understanding. When my daughter found out Barbara was retiring, even she came right out in stating she hopes Mr. Zittoun is her next principal. The feedback I have received from my daughter and her friends has been nothing but positive. If he does indeed apply, we wish him the best of luck! We'll be rooting for him!
Ellen February 06, 2013 at 01:50 PM
Not with Ms. Pem editing.... there is no freedom of the press where she is concerned.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 02:00 PM
So I think that, for the most part, it depends on the experience your child had with Dan or Barbara or a specific teacher or whoever. There are some teachers who I thought were horrible, but maybe it was just that that teacher and my kid were not a good match for whatever reason. I respect that not everyone shares my opinion of specific teachers or administrators, I just wasn't sure this was the forum to attack these administrators. In the case of Barbara, it's sort of like kicking someone on the way out the door.
Ann February 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM
There was a PTO meeting on Tuesday am which is when Jean Baker, head of guidance, told parents that both she and Barbara would be retiring, Barbara wasn't at the meeting, which was unusual for her. One of the parents asked if the school would be promoting from within and Jean shook her head to say no. It would be nice to have more parents attend. It's a great way to get to know the administration and the curriculum better, since there is almost always a presentation by one of the department heads. it's also a great way to make parents concerns known. For instance, there is a strong initiative under way to have a weighted gpa for next years' graduates.
Joan February 06, 2013 at 07:37 PM
the world of education has ben undergoing reform that has left Madison schools behind. we have so much social capital, that the schools have been allowed to rest on its laurels. the time is come to make professional learning communities more than just a fad that some teachers and admin choose to buy into. lots of research shows it works. It makes teachers accountable for what they teach and makes administrators instructional leaders rather than just managers. It is time for a visionary leader, and no one in district has demonstrated that
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 08:44 PM
What a bunch of grumps (well, not all of you, but some of you). The school system could be better. And it's one of the best in the state. The unremitting negativity and unsubstantiated attacks are being allowed because these people are public figures in our community. I do try to err on the side of leaving comments up rather than taking them down. I think the comments speak for themselves, in terms of their tone and whether they are valid. I'm sure, also, most school officials are used to this kind of thing on the part of parents who feel their child, rightly or wrongly, has been slighted. Sometimes administrators do mess up. And then there are the children in Madison who are coddled and whose parents make excuses for them, instead of making them own up to their mistakes. I've gotten a few emails about this comment thread. Here are some of those comments: "lacking credibility" "completely outrageous" and "totally disgusting." I bet if all of you were using your real full names instead of hiding like cowards behind fake names and first names only, the comments would be entirely different, much more civil, and much more credible. It's too bad, because this could have been a good conversation about what people want in the next principal.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 08:45 PM
So, please try to focus your comments on the rest of the thread to what you would like to see in the next principal. Thanks.
Joan February 07, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Wow! I commented that we need a visionary leader that brings forth the new ideas of school reform and got edited.!
Joan February 07, 2013 at 01:41 PM
We have people saying nasty things about specific people and it stands, but I say we need to do better and it get cut.! We cannot continue to rest on our social capital- We have great kids who families largely support. Teachers who work much as they did in the old days - in isolation, supported by administration that protects them . In districts that have supported reform, professional learning communities work together to the benefits of the students.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Take a deep breath ... nothing got cut, nothing got edited. At least not yet. I suggested that people refocus the conversation to a topic that might actually be useful. Grumbling and belly aching? Not useful. Talking about what you'd like to see in the person selected for the top spot at the high school? Useful. Giving very specific suggestions? Why, that would be fabulous.
Joan February 07, 2013 at 04:17 PM
a few hours later, the comments are back- thank you. I spoke specifically about professional learning communities and we need leaders who embrace them and will make them a reality in our school- not just a fad that some are waiting to go away- there is lots of good research that support them
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 05:07 PM
No comments were taken down Joan. But you're right .. I probably should take some down. I'll take another look.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 07, 2013 at 05:15 PM
We just got a notification from Patch Support that some comments and some events are not appearing on the site. They are looking into why that is and hope to have it fixed soon.
DB February 14, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Robert please do everyone a favor and keep your narrow opinions to yourself. It's people like you that keep all the arguments going. DB


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