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Superintendent Robert Putnam poses with Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt, who presented him with a certificate of recognition on behalf of the town.

Adams-Cheshire Says Goodbye to Retiring Superintendent Putnam

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Monday was the superintendent's last official meeting. 

CHESHIRE, Mass. — Superintendent Robert Putnam was bid farewell with wishes for a happy retirement at Monday's Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee meeting. 

At the beginning of the meeting at Cheshire School, Adams Selectwoman Christine Hoyt presented him with a certificate and thanks from the town.

"We just wanted to thank you for serving our district for these last two years and I know it hasn't always been easy, but we do appreciate all have you have done," Hoyt said. "So thank you very much and I wish you all of the best on behalf of the board."

Putnam was hired in summer 2016 as an interim leader after the previous superintendent, Kristen Gordon, abruptly resigned. The former chief of the Central Berkshire Regional School District was only onboard until a new superintendent could be found — it turned out to be him and he was offered the full-time position in early 2017.

He announced his retirement this past December after two somewhat tumultuous years as the regional district sought to right its financial ship and chart a new course. Those plans necessitated the closing of one the district's two elementary schools, and Putnam oversaw the controversial closure of Cheshire Elementary. 

The committee offered some kind words and members Peter Tatro and Paul Butler recalled how Putnam had come into the district during a contentious period.

"You certainly came into this district during a time of great disarray and we needed some direction and that you did give us, certainly not without controversy at times," Butler said. "You had a vision of where we needed to go, and you stuck to that vision and I think the district is in way better shape than it was two years ago."

In addition to budgeting and closing the school, Putnam was also critical in implementing a turnaround plan and hiring needed interventionist teachers to help struggling students.

School Committee member Adam Emerson said Putnam has left incoming Superintendent John Vosburgh, who takes over next week, with a solid path forward.

"Thank you for doing this work that has gotten the district on the right tracks," he said. "Your vision is now in John's very capable hands."

Putnam said he did not see his vision of the future of the district as his own but as a collaborative effort between the School Committee, faculty and the communities and said he would have liked to have seen this vision to completion but it was time to enter the next phase of his life.

"There are so many things that have yet to be completely realized but I have great confidence in Dr. Vosburgh to take this vision we have built over the past two years," Putnam said. "There is a small bit of regret not being able to see this to the end ... but it is time for me to explore other opportunities …

"I was lucky to be here at a time when people wanted to make a change."

Putnam added that he is happy to be able to end his career in education at Adams-Cheshire.

"I really wouldn't have wanted to do anything else on the planet during my last years of work and this has actually given me an opportunity I have never had before," he said. "Something needed to be done so I dug in and tried to do it and I am thankful for the opportunity to end my career here."

Tags: ACRSD,   retirement,   superintendent,   

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Adams to Consider Bellevue Cemetery Expansion

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Cemetery Commission will consider a five-year capital improvement plan and feasibility study to inform the possible expansion of Bellevue Cemetery.
Cemetery Commissioner Bruce Shepley asked the commission last week to consider future projects to include in a five-year capital improvement plan for the town’s cemeteries. 
"I am asking you to put thinking caps on and in the next month come with what you would like to see done at the cemeteries," he said. "Bottom line is what are your thoughts about capital improvements."
Shepley said the commission did produce an improvement plan some years ago, however, he has yet to find it. He added that the Cemetery Department still has funds it can expend to improve the cemeteries but the commissioners would need to figure out how low they can draw this fund.
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