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Mount Greylock School Committee Chairman Dan Caplinger, center, seen here with committee members Regina DiLego and Al Terranova last year, resigned from the committee effective Friday.

Mount Greylock School Committee Chair Vacates Post

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — For the second time in eight months, the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee is one member short.
Chairman Dan Caplinger on Friday informed the district's superintendent and his colleagues on the committee that he is stepping down from the elected office "effective immediately."
The move comes less than a year after then-Chairman Joe Bergeron, also of Williamstown, informed the district that he was relocating out of state and no longer would be able to serve on the committee.
Caplinger gave no specific reason for his departure when he spoke to Superintendent Kimberley Grady on Friday afternoon, she said.
Grady said she encouraged Caplinger to take the weekend to reconsider the decision, but his mind was made up.
The move makes Vice Chairwoman Christina Conry of Lanesborough the interim chair, a role that she could assume on a permanent basis as soon as this Thursday's special meeting of the committee, which previously was warned as a budget workshop to look a the district's fiscal 2021 spending plan.
Conry said Saturday morning that she is willing to serve as chair if nominated and elected by the other five remaining members of the committee.
"I'm still a relatively new member, but with the support of the full committee, I hope to be able to facilitate the meetings efficiently and effectively," she said. "I really believe the region is moving in a positive direction."
Conry, who had no prior experience serving on a school committee, was elected to a four-year seat on the Mount Greylock panel in November 2018.
In that same election, Caplinger was elected to a four-year seat.
The remainder of his term will be on the ballot this November, as will the seat formerly held by Bergeron, who was elected to a two-year term in 2018.
In June, a joint meeting of the Williamstown and Lanesborough select boards and the remaining School Committee members voted, 10-3, to appoint Jamie Art to serve the remaining time of Bergeron's term.
Grady said Saturday morning that the district once again will accept applications from Williamstown residents to serve in Caplinger's stead. Those candidates, like Art, will be picked by the combined Select Boards and School Committee, per the regional agreement between Williamstown and Lanesborough.
"I'm writing to let you know that I'm stepping down from the school committee," Caplinger emailed his colleagues on Friday afternoon. "I gave Kim my letter of resignation this afternoon.
"I truly appreciate the kind words that many of you have given me along the way. I wish all of you the very best of success."
Caplinger did not immediately return an email Saturday from iBerkshires seeking comment.
The departure of a second School Committee member -- coupled with turnover in two of the district's three principal's offices -- does not create a cause for concern about stability of the district's leadership, Grady said on Saturday.
Earlier this winter, Mount Greylock Principal Mary MacDonald informed the school community she plans to leave the post and return to teaching. Williamstown Elementary School Principal Joelle Brookner told her school community earlier this month that she plans to step down after 28 years at the school as a teacher and administrator to pursue a districtwide curriculum coordinator position, a post formerly held by MacDonald but currently vacant.
At the district's third school, the interim principal, Nolan Pratt, intends to be a contender for a permanent appointment, Grady said. On Thursday, the district was informed Pratt had passed the commonwealth's Performance Assessment for Leaders exam, a requirement to be named as a principal in the district.
Grady said that although the turnover of key elected and appointed positions seems to come at once, the changes are happening for different reasons.
"Joelle [Brookner] is moving into a district position," Grady said. "Had the timing been a little different with what happened in Lanesborough last year, she would have already been in that position. Her goal was to move into the district spot last year. Mary [MacDonald] has been asking to step down for two years. With the building project and [labor union] negotiations with regionalization, she stayed until this year. Nolan is 'acting' only because he had to pass the test.
"And I have solid assistant principals."

Tags: MGRSD,   resignation,   school committee,   

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Williamstown Theatre Festival Cancels On-Stage Season in Berkshires

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williamstown Theatre Festival announced Tuesday that it will not produce the summer 2020 season in Williamstown as planned.

The season was scheduled to open on June 30 on the Main Stage with Tennessee Williams' classic "A Streetcar Named Desire." Six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald was scheduled to star as Blanche DuBois in this production directed by Robert O'Hara, with Carla Gugino as Stella and Bobby Cannavale as Stanley. 

The season was scheduled to end on Aug. 23 on the Main Stage with "Photograph 51" by Anna Ziegler, which honors the work and contribution of Rosalind Franklin as she closes in on a discovery around the DNA molecule, and on the Nikos Stage season with "Animals," a world premiere by Stacy Osei-Kuffour. 

"This is a very difficult situation for everyone at the festival," Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield said in the announcement, emailed to supporters. "In the event the governor's or other civil authority's positions or requirements are amended or updated, we will let you know if these changes affect our ability to mount the season in Williamstown, as planned."

Greenfield said 2020 season ticket bundle buyers will receive a separate email detailing how bundle purchases may be converted into a donation, credit voucher or refund.

WTF will forge ahead with the new work that had planned but making it in a different way.

"We will create seven new productions with Audible, the world's largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks, in a format safe to elevate, entertain, transport, reveal, unmask and transform audiences from the comfort of their homes," she wrote. "The stellar group of artists who planned to spend the summer in Williamstown, will deliver — with fearlessness and redoubled passion — on the promise they made to create this work for you. 

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