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School Committee Special Meeting Focuses on Open Meeting Law Complaints, Superintendent Search

At a special meeting yesterday, the Tewksbury School Committee first addressed three open meeting law violation complaints, stemming from their Feb. 9 meeting. You can find our breakdown of that meeting here. Those complaints are included in the packet for the meeting, which is below and available for download here.

The Committee referred all complaints to legal counsel to communicate on their behalf.

The bulk of the meeting pertained to the ongoing search for a replacement for current district superintendent Chris Malone, who will retire on February 28. The Committee was joined by MASC (Massachusetts Association of School Committee) field director Dorothy Presser. MASC’s services have been retained by the Committee to aid them in their search.

All documents discussed at the meeting can be found in the packet. The search timeline has been updated to reflect a start day of February 22, with a goal of having a new district superintendent on board by July 1.

After accepting this timeline, the committee moved on to establish the criteria they are looking for in a new superintendent. Tewksbury worked with MASC when Malone was hired and were able to update the previous requirements based on the district’s current needs. For example, the Committee dropped the need for experience in building construction, as the new school is moving ahead on schedule and is expected to be completed on budget.

Next the Committee addressed the salary for the incoming superintendent. On the advice of Presser, and noting that current salaries are public information, they opted to list the job with a salary range. MASC has provided a salary comparison of both local districts and districts with similar demographics.

This comparison can be found in the packet.

After some discussion about current salaries and an acknowledgement that this would be for the 2022-2023 school year, the committee settled on a number they were all satisfied with. The posting will be listed with a salary range of $190,000 to $210,000, with the understanding this amount can be raised if deemed necessary.

Up next was deciding on the makeup of the search committee.

MASC’s suggested search committee composition can also be found in the packet. The search committee will be responsible for reviewing all the applications submitted and shortening the list of top candidates to be submitted to the School Committee, which will make the final hiring decision.

During the Citizen’s Forum portion of the meeting, the only speaker was parent and TSEPAC co-chair Dina Mancini, who asked the Committee what parents they were considering for the the search team. Mancini stated that she hoped it would be a diverse group and asked that they consider adding a student.

After much back and forth between the School Committee and Presser about the size of the search committee and which stakeholders would be included, the group settled on a 12-member committee comprised of:

  • Four parents representing K-4, 5-8 and 9-12, one of whom shall be a special education parent, who will be chosen by the School Committee
  • Three teachers representing K-4, 5-8 and 9-12, chosen by the TTA
  • One School Committee member; Shannon Demos nominated Bridget Garabedian for that seat, a motion that was adopted
  • One community member, to be chosen by the School Committee
  • One school principal, to be selected by the building principals
  • One central office administrator, to be chosen by central office staff
  • One student, to be selected by the TMHS Student Council

If you would like to be considered for the search committee, please send a letter of interest to School Committee chair Keith Sullivan at ksullivan@tewksbury.k12.ma.us.

The Committee will solicit feedback from the community to aid them in developing questions for the candidates. This outreach will in the form of an online survey. Presser suggested that, to aid in getting feedback from residents without students in the district, the Committee share the survey though local online news sources. The Carnation has reached out to Sullivan for a copy that we can share with readers.

Another suggested method to get feedback was to hold local focus groups, both in person and virtually. MASC will coordinate with the superintendents office to schedule those focus groups. As we learn of timing and the application process, we will report back.

<strong>Julie Naughton</strong>
Julie Naughton

Julie likes coffee and covers education for the Carnation.
Contact her at:
editor@tewksburycarnation.org, attn Julie N.

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