Pending a successful background check, the town will begin the new year with a new youth services director.
The Board of Selectmen on Dec. 8 voted unanimously to hire Weston clinical psychologist Michelle Albright to fill the position left vacant when Kristin Ferrara resigned the post in March.
Since that time, First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said, she and Town Administrator Tom Landry worked with the Children and Youth Services Commission to “tweak” the position, redefining the role the youth services director will play. It will now include more of a social work component, which requires someone with different qualifications than had been required in the past.
The town has just one social worker for the entire school district. Kids’ social services needs often overlap with the social services needs of families, and so the town wanted someone who can be a liaison between the schools and the town social worker, Ms. Weinstein said.
Ms. Weinstein described Dr. Albright as the perfect fit.
“We felt her consulting background, combined with her experience with programming and a strong understanding of the schools,” make her the right person for the job, the first selectman said.
Dr. Albright has lived in Weston for seven years, and has two school-aged children.
She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois, completed an internship at the University of Maryland, and was a National Institute of Mental Health post-doctoral fellow at New York University.
She has worked for 15 years as a clinician at universities, health centers, and hospital ERs, with experience in case management and crisis intervention.
Dr. Albright, who runs Albright Consulting LLC, said she specializes in school/community partnerships, working as a coordinator for several community- and school-based programs, and she has written curriculum regarding social skills, literacy promotion, homework, and family involvement.
“I am adept at identifying key goals and corresponding best practices, as well as developing policy and protocol, effectively engaging stakeholders, and providing leadership and guidance to colleagues, clients, and constituents,” Dr. Albright wrote in her application for the youth services director job.
In Weston, she has served on the Hurlbutt PTO as a representative to the Wellness Committee and on the Communications Subcommittee.
Parents may already know her from a five-part educational workshop series — which she developed and ran through the Weston Youth Services Department — to help parents promote children’s cognitive, physical, and social and emotional development.
Dr. Albright said she believes that being a part of the Weston community means she brings an essential local parent’s perspective to the job.
Ms. Weinstein agrees. Her strong background in programming and the fact that she is already a part of the community means Dr. Albright should bring “current and exciting and new programs” to Weston, she said.
“I’m really excited,” Ms. Weinstein said. “Michelle has that skill set to really be that liaison between the school social worker and the town social worker, to help our families that are in need.”
Conditions of employment
Conditional on the satisfactory completion of a background check, Dr. Albright will begin as Weston’s youth services director on Jan. 2, with a 180-day probationary period.
It is a part-time union position with a regular workweek of 22.5 hours. Dr. Albright will be paid $35.86 per hour, or approximately $42,000 annually, not including overtime.
Other terms of employment and benefits are as per the collective bargaining agreement and are subject to periodic negotiated revision.