New Faces In High Places: A Look At Tim Connor’s Time As Superintendent

Alleyna Pitaso, Sports Editor

Last school year, the West Springfield Public School District had some major changes that gave way to new members being a part of our community leadership. One of the major changes was the welcoming of a new Superintendent. After former Superintendent Michael Richard announced he had been selected to become the new Superintendent for the Lee and Tyringham School District, questions arose immediately. Who was going to take his spot? How were we going to find a new Superintendent in the middle of the school year? Tim Connor, who was the former Curriculum Director for the district, was voted unanimously by the School Committee to become the Interim Superintendent starting February 24th, while the search for a new one began. 

It is truly my honor to hold this position in serving West Side. I don’t take the trust that families and employees afford me to do the job lightly by any means.”

— Superintendent, Tim Connor

However, the search came to an abrupt end on April 7th, when the School Committee voted to make his position as Superintendent permanent. Members of the committee praised Connor for his excellent work taking over right before the Covid-19 pandemic began. It was his responsibility to decide whether or not the school remained open or closed. He also had to work with many frustrated teachers and administrators to come up with a plan for teaching students while under quarantine. While many people may have folded under the pressure of keeping a school district of people safe, dealing with anxious parents, and navigating a new career, Tim Connor managed to do it all with his usual humorous flair. It certainly wasn’t unusual for his informative emails to include jokes, quips, and Bitmojis. 

As a native of West Springfield, Connor was thankful to be in his position while also being a product of West Side schools. “Not many Superintendents have the honor to have moved through their hometown school system as a student, teacher, administrator, and then Superintendent,” he said. It’s for this reason that he believes that his career is more than just a job to be completed. It’s a responsibility and duty to not let down his family, friends, and the community. This responsibility is only one that he’s taken on in stride.

Superintendent, Tim Connor, and Mayor Reichelt in their snow day video announcement sent to the school community.

While on the outside his transition may have seemed smooth, the inside came with a few bumps in the road. “The responsibilities are vast as you are ultimately responsible for being sure every aspect of a child’s education and safety is fulfilled to the extent possible,” Connor stated. He’s also needed to develop a thick skin. Working in a town of over 28,000 people, there are certainly going to be people who are vocal about their dislike of decisions the Superintendent makes. At the end of the day, he’s had to learn that not everyone will agree with him, but as long as he makes decisions that he believes will benefit the school community, it’ll all work out. 

To make said decisions, Connor is in the office before most people’s morning alarms have gone off. “I am a morning person to start with so I’m generally in the office between 4:45 am – 5:30 am depending on the day. This is when I can have some quiet time and focus on priorities that need to be done,” he said. An early start gives him time in the day to fit in meetings with anyone and everyone- the Mayor, Department of Education, School Committee, parents, etc. You name them, Tim Connor has most likely met with them. He doesn’t do it all on his own though. He heaps praise onto the team around him, “I have such a strong support system from the Mayor, School Committee, Town Council, one of the best faculty and staff I have ever worked with, and a Central Office team that rivals any team in the state.”

Members of his team return the sentiment. Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Vito Perrone, is one of the many people that enjoy working with Tim Connor. “He is collaborative and transparent, and he sincerely believes in teamwork and communication as a means to an end. One of my favorite characteristics of working with him is his humor. He naturally uses it as a tool to connect with and put at ease all with whom he works on a daily basis,” he said. Mr. Connor has used his wit and humor many times throughout his tenure as Superintendent to try and spread some joy during what is currently a stressful time. He can often be found creating silly skits to be posted online regarding prevalent topics in West Springfield. Most recently, he starred in a skit alongside Mayor Will Reichelt to announce this year’s first (and only) snow day. It was a huge hit amongst parents and students alike.

Despite his reputation as a jokester, Tim Connor has made it clear that he is dedicated to doing what’s best for the West Springfield Public School District. “It is truly my honor to hold this position in serving West Side. I don’t take the trust that families and employees afford me to do the job lightly by any means,” he’s said. However, actions speak louder than words, and his work ethic, ability to handle pressure, and willingness to collaborate with others have spoken volumes about who he is as a community leader. From funny skits and jokes to early mornings filled with important meetings, Superintendent Connor has proven that he has what it takes to run a school district, and run it well.