Updated with 2 Bristol Press Articles Below

BRISTOL — Superintendent of Schools Ellen Solek is reportedly a semifinalist for the superintendent’s job in St. Johns County, Florida.

Chris Wilson, Board of Education chairman, had no comment about Solek’s potential departure or whether the board is preparing to search for her replacement. He said the average term of a superintendent in Bristol has been between three and five years. Solek has been here for four years.

A recent article in The St. Augustine Record reported the St. Johns County superintendent selection process is moving quicker than expected, with nine out of 21 applicants advancing into the semifinalist stage. Solek is listed as one of the semifinalists.

Judge John Alexander, chairman of the St. Johns County School Board’s citizens’ advisory committee on the superintendent candidates, was quoted as referring to the applicants as “nine superstars.”

The district is said to be conducting background checks on the applicants as the board members prepare to question the semifinalists during a workshop meeting. The start date for the St. Johns County position is reported as no later than January.

The district is reportedly one of the fastest growing in Florida, with about 36,000 K-12 students enrolled this year. Bristol’s public school student enrollment is about 8,200.

Solek came to Bristol as superintendent in July, 2012. She took over the job from Philip Streifer who left to take a position with the University of North Carolina Fayetteville. Solek moved to town from Hamden and was previously superintendent in East Haddam for five years.

She came on board just as the district was going through a period of extensive change. With the end of the 2011-12 school year, the district shut down four aging schools: Greene-Hills, Jennings, and O’Connell elementary schools, and Memorial Boulevard Middle School. The four joined Bingham Elementary School, which was shuttered in 2010.

They were replaced by the new West Bristol K-8 School at Clark Avenue and Matthews Street, and the new Greene-Hills K-8 School, built next to the old Greene-Hills, which was demolished.

The district went through an extensive citywide redistribution of students among the remaining elementary and middle schools as well as the new K-8s.

In the fall of 2014, the district also expanded its kindergarten program to full-day during her tenure.

Also in 2014, the board voted to extend her employment contract for two years, from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2017.

Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or scorica@bristolpress.com.

Article 2: August 19, 2016

BRISTOL — Superintendent of Schools Ellen Solek emphatically denies that she is seeking a superintendent’s job in St. Johns County, Florida.

At the Board of Education meeting Wednesday, she said, “I would like to state to the board unequivocally that I am not a candidate for a position in the state of Florida or any other state in the United States. I enjoy very much doing the work in support of the Board of Education and working with the highly talented district leadership team, administrators, faculty, and staff in this district.”

An article dated Aug. 9 in The St. Augustine Record newspaper reported the St. Johns County superintendent selection process has named nine semifinalists, with Solek listed as one of them.

After the meeting, she said, “I can’t speak to a newspaper in Florida publishing information,” however she wanted to make sure people are “very clear” that “I am very committed to this board, and I am committed to the district and I am committed to the community of Bristol.”

Solek came to Bristol as superintendent in July, 2012. Her current contract runs through the end of the 2017-18 school year.

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