The hiring of a new school superintendent in Waterbury has upset some African-American residents, who walked out of a recent Board of Ed meeting.

The school board voted 7-3 on Monday to hire Manchester School Superintendent Kathleen Ouellette as the city’s new school chief.

Many African-Americans in the audience wanted the board to pick former Superintendent Portia Bonner, (New Bedford, Massachusetts)  who comes from a prominent black family in Waterbury. Ouellette is white. The board’s choice prompted many blacks in the audience to walk out of the meeting.

Local black leaders say they will work to oust pro-Ouellette board members in the fall election.

Ouellette urged critics to give her a chance, saying she won over skeptics in Manchester with her dedication to closing the achievement gap there.


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