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Superintendent Jake McCandless speaks to the City Council in August. McCandless confirmed he seeking a position in eastern Massachusetts.

Pittsfield Superintendent Seeking New Opportunities

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Superintendent of Schools Jason "Jake" McCandless is actively seeking new opportunities and may leave the Pittsfield Public Schools. 
After McCandless' evaluation by the School Committee on Wednesday, he confirmed that he is a finalist for the superintendent's position of the Silver Lake Regional School District in Kingston, just north of Plymouth.
"It simply feels in my gut like it is a good time to make a change," McCandless said.
McCandless came to Pittsfield in 2013 after being in Lee for 11 years, eight of those as superintendent and three as principal. He came to Lee after three years as an assistant principal in Virginia. 
He signed a six-year contract in 2015, setting his salary at $157,000. The Silver Lake post would pay between $170,000 and $190,000 and the selected candidate would be expected to begin when the current superintendent retires at the end of January. Silver Lake has about 1,800 students compared to Pittsfield's 5,400.
"There are hundreds of things I will miss about Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Public Schools," the superintendent said on Thursday. "The wonderful people who make things work in the city and county and our students are an honor and privilege to serve as are their families."
He went on to praise the School Committee, the staff, city leaders, and the larger community that has supported him through the years.
"We have dedicated employees across the entire organizational chart and wonderful families who trust us with their treasure each day," McCandless said. "Our city government takes education seriously, and our whole county works together in extraordinary ways. Serving Lee, Tyringham, and Pittsfield has been a gift to me and our family. 
"I will miss so much. I could go on, and talk myself out of this altogether." 
McCandless said if not selected he and his family will re-evaluate their options. He said remaining in Pittsfield is not out of the question.
"If this opportunity does not work out, our family will evaluate our options and see," he said. "Staying here and continuing to serve is an excellent scenario, so we will see."
During his evaluation, the entire School Committee lauded his efforts over the years and all gave him marks of "exemplary" and "proficient."
Member Daniel Elias said he was astounded by his work ethic and dedication and member Joshua Cutler applauded his leadership especially during the school building project and rough budgetary times. 
"His leadership comes at a critical time in Berkshire County as we face population decline, demographic shifts, and a lack of growth in resources that has dictated difficult decisions."
Members William Cameron and Dennis Powell thanked McCandless for his efforts to create a tolerant and inclusive environment in the school system. Powell said when he was the president of the NAACP, McCandless was completely receptive to all their concerns. 
"These are difficult times and it is very difficult to change behavior and change mindsets," Powell said. "He did not give up on that ... he understands what it takes to make change."
Mayor Linda Tyer also had good things to say about McCandless and said he is a great communicator and advocate for students. 
"Pittsfield is beyond fortunate to have Dr. McCandless leading our school community," she said. "He confronts challenges head-on and with passion and celebrates outstanding staff and student performances."

Tags: evaluation,   Pittsfield Public Schools,   superintendent,   

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Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Nov. 22-28

The Colonial presents Tramps Like Us, a high-energy band that delivers Bruce Springsteen's iconic rockers and ballads including "Dancing In the Dark," "Born in the U.S.A.," "Thunder Road," "Badlands" and more. Tramps Like Us is the only tribute band to be endorsed by members of Springsteen's team, such as former producer and manager Mike Appel, and the official Springsteen Radio Station: E Street Radio on Sirius XM. 8 p.m. $25 and up. 
FRI Sarah Mitchell at Methuselah | FRI Blue Light Trio at Rainbow | FRI An Evening of Music, Poetry & Solidarity at First Church of Christ | FRI "Helping Friends" Food Pantry Benefit at United Methodist Church | FRI Tom Savoy at Hotel on North | FRI Jim Witherell at Proprietor's Lodge | FRI-SAT "Cruisin' with the Oldies" Pittsfield Parade Benefit at Taconic High School | SAT Decadia: '80s Tribute at The Colonial | SAT Shyne/Bits 'n' Pieces at The A | SAT Lyndsay Anne & Duffy at Proprietor's Lodge | SAT Mr. Doubtfire at Mission | SAT Sawyer Country at Roasted Garlic | SAT Jason & Trev at Proprietor's Lodge | SAT ZipStohr's Comedy at Holiday Inn (formerly Crowne Plaza) | SAT-SUN Berkshire Concert Choir: An Afternoon at the Opera at Zion Lutheran Church | SUN Open Mic Night at Mission | MON WordXWord: Flavors of America at Berkshire Museum | MON Green Drinks at Hotel on North | MON Trivia Night at Methuselah | MON Jazz Night at Mission | WED Jack Waldheim's One Man Dance Band at Mission | WED Gruppo Mondo at Rainbow | WED Mike Duffy at Hotel on North | THU The Picky B's at Mission


Explore the sparkling indoor forest of "Festival of Trees 2019: Heroes" at Festival of Trees After Dark. The Berkshire Museum's galleries will be lit only by the twinkling lights ablaze on every tree. All ages welcome. $3/$5. 5-7 p.m.
FRI WeeMuse Adventures at Berkshire Museum FRI-THU Parenting Classes & Play Groups at 18 Degrees SAT Kitchen Ka-Boom! at Berkshire Museum SAT Chow Time at Berkshire Museum SAT We Can Be Heroes at Berkshire Museum SAT Festival of Trees After Dark at Berkshire Museum SUN Discovery Tank Program at Berkshire Museum MON Tiny Tots Story Time at Berkshire Athenaeum MON Dungeons & Dragons at Berkshire Athenaeum TUE WeeMuse Littlest Learners at Berkshire Museum TUE WeeMuse Parent/Child STEM at Berkshire Museum


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