Updated 12:34 p.m. Wednesday
Tom Brown, the principal of Casimir Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, has been hospitalized in critical condition since the weekend, according to school district officials.
The district office has not revealed details of the hospitalization, out of respect for the medical privacy of Brown's family, but has confirmed his condition is serious.
Brown is at Hartford Hospital, and staff there reached by phone Wednesday said he is in critical condition. Critical is the most serious of conditions, and is defined by the hospital as a patient with unstable vital signs, who may not be conscious.
Officials said they do not know when and if Brown will return to his post.
In Brown's absence, the school's Instructional Associate Christine Winiarski is serving as Interim Principal, with first-grade teacher Jennifer Kelley named the school's Interim Instructional Associate.
A long-term substitute, Donnie Dupree, who served much of the year at Israel Putnam School, took over Kelley's class today, and will be the teacher for the rest of the year.
"I think we put an excellent plan in place. Tom has developed numerous educational leaders throughout his career and he has a solid team at Pulaski," schools Superintendent Mark Benigni said Wednesday morning. "I think everyone now has just turned their thoughts to Tom's health, and making sure that things go well for him. We wish Tom a speedy recovery and we miss his energy and enthusiasm here in our district."
Brown, Pulaski's popular, energetic principal since 2004, had been from the elementary school - the district's largest – at the end of this school year. His request was approved last week by the Board of Education. Dan Coffey, at Benjamin Franklin School was slated to take his place next year.
"I just spoke with Tom last week, he was excited about what was happening in the school, and in our district. He was looking forward to his retirement. But anyone who knows Tom, knows he's a bubbly guy, he's full of energy, excitement - it's no wonder that students gravitate so easily toward him," Benigni said.
The superintendent said he is in touch with Brown's wife Darlene, the K-12 Language Arts Coordinator for Rocky Hill Public Schools, to keep apprised of Brown's condition.
The district will be mailing a letter out (posted in PDF to this article) to Pulaski parents today regarding Brown's hospitalization and the interim staff changes.
Click the video above to see Brown talk about his school's needs during earlier this month on Jan. 5, 2012, to promote a portion of the Federal Jobs Act that would invest about $25 billion into school construction in the nation.