Williamstown-Lanesborough Superintendent Pick: 'Commitment to Education' in Towns

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Douglas Dias has been confirmed as the next superintendent for the Williamstown-Lanesborough schools.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The incoming superintendent of the Lanesborough-Williamstown public schools liked what he saw on his visit to the Tri-District last month.
 
But the most lasting impression was what he heard.
 
"I was talking to my wife, and she reminded me that when I came back [from the March 24 interview), the thing I kept talking about was that everyone was talking about the students," Dias said in a telephone interview on Wednesday evening.
 
On Wednesday morning, the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee unanimously approved Dias as the next superintendent of the Tri-District. On Monday, elementary school committee members of the Superintendency Union 71 Committee did its part in approving the three-year contract to which Dias had agreed.
 
Dias will be paid $150,000 in the first year of the agreement with future increases to be negotiated between him and the school districts. 
 
Back in late March, he so impressed a joint meeting of the SU71 and the Mount Greylock that all 12 voting members in attendance decided to offer the job to him over the other finalist interviewed that night.
 
What impressed Dias was the way everyone he met in a daylong tour of the three schools emphasized the students of Williamstown and Lanesborough.
 
"That was one of the things that resonated with me," Dias said. "All people talked about was how important it was that they get a good education.
 
"There seems to be a commitment to education that was throughout both towns."
 
Dias, currently the principal of Medway High School in eastern Massachusetts, will take over the corner office of the Tri-District on July 1.
 
Until then, he plans to continue learning about the three schools — mostly through Interim Superintendent Gordon Noseworthy, who arrived in January to replace retired Superintendent Rose Ellis.
 
"Gordon Noseworthy and I met in my last visit and have been talking regularly about transition," Dias said. "The plan is to come up and spend days sporadically and learn and listen and watch.
 
"But I also don't want to to impose myself on a system that's going through the end of the school year."
 
At Wednesday evening's meeting of the Williamstown Elementary School Committee, Noseworthy said the transition to Dias' administration will be smooth.
 
"I think we'll have an excellent transition," Noseworthy said. "We already have had some excellent conversations, and I'm feeling really confident about his takeover."
 
Dias said everyone in the Tri-District has been gracious in offering their time, but he knows first hand the demands that teachers and administrators face when wrapping up one school year and starting another.
 
"I'm trying to give them their space," he said. "They have a job to do. The end of the year can be very busy."
 
One priority for Noseworthy before he ends his interim stint June 30: hiring a principal to replace Lanesborough Elementary's Ellen Boshe, who announced her retirement this winter.
 
Dias said Noseworthy has offered his successor a chance to meet the finalists for the Lanesborough post. But Dias is comfortable with Noseworthy making the hiring decision.
 
"I trust the people there," Dias said. "I trust Gordon and the people he has doing the search with him.
 
"We all are going to have to live with the decision. I know the people there making this critical decision for Lanesborough Elementary School will work hard to make the right decision."
 
Dias made his own decision this month when he opted to drop out as a superintendent candidate in two other districts, West Springfield and Pioneer Valley.
 
"Going through a process to be a superintendent is one of those things I don't plan on doing again and not something I've done before," Dias said. "I waited quite a while to take that next step. I was particular about the district I wanted to put my energy into. And I ended up with three districts that were very different from each other.
 
"Had I landed at any one of them, I could have done well. Union 71 and Mount Greylock resonated with me the most."
 
Dias said a conversation with a friend just after he interviewed in West Springfield helped clarify the decision for him.
 
"She asked me directly, 'Which one did you like the most?' " Dias recalled. "I said, Williamstown/Lanesborough and Mount Greylock. And she said, 'That makes sense because it's the only one you're talking about.'
 
"It took someone outside to help me realize I was talking more about Mount Greylock and SU71."

Tags: MGRHS,   SU71,   superintendent,   

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Mount Greylock School Committee Gets Report on Start of School Year

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School District on Tuesday evening plans a community forum on the start of the school year.
 
The School Committee last Thursday heard that things are going as well as can be expected as the PreK-12 district re-invents the way it teaches students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
"We are really appreciative of the fact that we've had a couple of weeks of remote learning actually, despite some challenges," said Joelle Brookner, who this summer transitioned from being principal at Williamstown Elementary School to being director of curriculum and instruction for the district.
 
"Bringing in small groups of people that we have in each of the student support centers in the schools has its own set of challenges, and it's allowed us to work out some kinks. It's allowing us to anticipate some of what the problems are probably going to be when we have more students in the building, such as distancing."
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