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Carolyn Greene addresses the Williamstown Select Board during her time as chair of the Mount Greylock School Committee.

Carolyn Greene Lone Applicant for Mount Greylock School Committee Post

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The vacant seat on the Mount Greylock School Committee likely will be filled by a very familiar face.
 
On Thursday evening, Superintendent Kimberley Grady told the remaining six members of the panel that there is one applicant still in the running for the post vacated by Dan Caplinger last month.
 
Two Williamstown residents applied for the position by the Wednesday deadline, but Grady mentioned at the end of a 45-minute meeting held by teleconference that the field has narrowed to one: former School Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Greene.
 
"I understand the complexities of regional budgets and collective bargaining agreements, am familiar with school committee policies, and appreciate having established protocols," Greene wrote in her application for the position. "I understand what it means to be an effective school committee member and can hit the ground running mid-year. Having served at the state level, I am familiar with the challenges faced by districts across Massachusetts and in Berkshire County as well."
 
Greene, who served on the Mount Greylock School Committee from July 2009 to November 2018, is the director of commencement and academic events at Williams College.
 
She chaired the feasibility study that resulted in forming the shared services agreement between Mount Greylock and School Union 71 -- the "Tri-District" arrangement that was the precursor to fully regionalizing the preK-12 district in 2017.
 
She also served as the Division VI chair of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and as a member of the Berkshire County Education Task Force.
 
Greene chaired the School Committee through some tumultuous periods, including a 2014 push by some town officials in Lanesborough to break up SU 71.
 
She is looking to come back at a time when there are new challenges facing the district: a contentious debate about whether to build an artificial turf field and a social media campaign against Grady that prompted two of the district's principals to make a public statement that their departures are not tied to any concerns about the administration.
 
Greene is not unaware of the issues facing the School Committee.
 
"But I care about the district, and I believe in the value of the work," she wrote in an email replying to a question about her decision. "And if it's too stressful, I can choose not to run in 2020. I've had over a year of civilian life and it's been great. But the idea of serving on the committee post-regionalization and post-building project (almost), getting to work with all three schools, knowing what I know now, it could be quite rewarding."
 
It is the second time in 10 months that an interim appointment is being made to fill an unexpired term on the School Committee. In June, a joint meeting of the School Committee and the Select Boards from Lanesborough and Williamstown selected Jamie Art from a field of five applicants to fill a then-vacant seat.
 
The committee and boards had set March 23 as the date to make this appointment, but that meeting was canceled because of uncertainty about whether the three bodies could meet given concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Grady said Thursday that she has a call in to the district's counsel to find out whether all bodies need to meet and vote on Greene's application since she is the only current candidate.

Tags: MGRSD,   school committee,   

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County's Colleges Train Workers for Post-Pandemic Economy

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The county's institutions of higher education are ready to do their part to help their students navigate their way through a post-COVID-19 economy.
 
On Friday, the presidents of Berkshire Community College, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Williams College and the provost of Bard College at Simon's Rock participated in a virtual town hall hosted by 1Berkshire.
 
Johnathan Butler led the hourlong conversation, which focused largely on how colleges are adapting to the current closure of their physical campuses and making plans for the fall 2020 semester.
 
But at one point Butler asked how the schools are situated to help address workforce development needs at a time when Berkshire County has nearly 30 percent unemployment.
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