The Wilton Public School district has found its new assistant superintendent for special services in Andrea Leonardi, who has served as the director of special services in Fairfield for the past twenty years.

She will start July 1, taking over for Ann Paul, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Maria Coleman, Wilton Schools’ director of human resources, issued a press release that said Leonardi was hired after an in-depth search and interview process that was “rigorous.”

“Throughout the interview process, Ms. Leonardi impressed committee members with her vision, her record of accomplishments in Fairfield, and her ability to cite numerous examples of her success in developing programs for students with special needs. Ms. Leonardi’s background, experience, and unwavering commitment to serving students with special needs make her uniquely qualified for this position,” the release stated.

Leonardi has also held positions as a special education teacher at the preschool, elementary, and middle school levels. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from Wheaton College and a master of science degree and sixth-year certificate from Southern Connecticut State University.

Coleman described the search process in the release:

“After a careful screening of online applicants, the director of human resources and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction invited select candidates to participate in an initial interview. Successful initial interview candidates were invited back for a second-round interview with a broad-based committee of 15 people. This committee included parents, general education teachers, special education teachers, administrators, a paraprofessional, administrative assistants, and special area providers. After the second-round interview, select finalists were invited to interview with the superintendent, representatives from the Board of Education, and district leadership. The final step in the process was a site visit to the Fairfield Public Schools, where a group of 16 representatives from Fairfield met with nine visiting committee members from the Wilton Public Schools. The welcoming committee represented teacher leaders, special service providers, special education coordinators, parents of students with special needs, a Board of Education member, and administrators who had worked closely with Ms. Leonardi. The committee highlighted Ms. Leonardi’s extensive knowledge about special education, her ability to work with different constituencies to serve in the best interests of students, and her impressive work ethic. The site visit confirmed the beliefs of the interview committees; we know that Ms. Leonardi will make numerous positive contributions to our school district.”