WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Mount Greylock Regional School Committee on Monday voted to offer an interim superintendent position to the former superintendent in the Central Berkshire and Adams-Cheshire Regional school districts.
Chair Christina Conry announced after the committee met in executive session for 38 minutes that Superintendent Kimberley Grady is on an indefinite medical leave.
Pending the successful negotiation of a contract, the district is hiring longtime Berkshire County educator Robert Putnam.
Putnam taught for 13 years in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District before moving into administration. He was the director of teaching and learning in the Berkshire Hills district from 2001-2003 and 2006-10, principal at Stockbridge Plain and Muddy Brook elementaries from 2003-06, assistant superintendent in Dalton from 2010-14, superintendent of Central Berkshire from 2014-15 and superintendent in Adams-Cheshire from 2016-18.
In between superintendent jobs, he returned to teaching in the Berkshire Hills district. He has been working as a consultant since retiring from Adams-Cheshire, now Hoosac Valley, two years ago.
"The district explored other possible interim candidates and felt strongly about Dr. Putnam," Conry told iBerkshires.com after Monday's brief, single-item public meeting.
The vote to hire Putnam on an interim basis was 7-0.
"We want to make sure we have clear directives," Conry said in the meeting. "The No. 1 priority is having our reopening plans mapped out. After that would be acclimating the new administrators to their roles and working with the subcommittees."
This spring, Grady hired Kristen Thompson as principal at Williamstown Elementary School and Jake Schutz as principal at Mount Greylock. The latter moves up from the post of assistant principal at the middle-high school. Thompson comes to the district from Albuquerque, N.M.
Late last month, rumors began circulating in the district after Mount Greylock Assistant Superintendent Andrea Wadsworth sent an email to district staff informing them that she would be acting as superintendent while Grady was "unavailable."
Wadsworth this spring had announced that she was leaving the district to take a job at Berkshire Community College. On Monday, Conry noted that Wadsworth was planning to leave the Lanesborough-Williamstown district on Wednesday, but Putnam is available to begin work right away, so "there will be some crossover."
It is the second time in seven years that the Mount Greylock district will be led by an interim superintendent. In December 2014, after the retirement of Rose Ellis, the district hired Gordon Noseworthy on an interim basis. He served from January through June 2015.
The School Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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Mount Greylock Interim Superintendent Proposing Fully Remote Start to School Year
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School District's interim superintendent Tuesday told the community he will propose the district start the year with fully remote learning for general education students.
In a virtual town hall, Robert Putnam previewed the proposal for the start of school that he will present to the School Committee for a vote on Thursday evening. Districts throughout the commonwealth must present their reopening plans, approved by school committees, to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by Friday.
Putnam emphasized throughout his presentation that all of his plans for the preK-12, three school district are still subject to negotiation with the district's teachers union. He mentioned "bargaining" at least four times in his half-hour presentation before addressing attendees' questions.
As he has throughout his six-week tenure as interim superintendent, Putnam said remote learning will be the cornerstone of the district's planning for the 2020-21 school year. And when classes resume in mid-September, Putnam expects remote learning to be the only mode of instruction.
Putnam said that, depending in part on the levels of COVID-19 infection in the area, the district will, at some point, offer families the option of keeping their child or children home for remote learning or sending the children to school for part of the week in a hybrid model.
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The college's vice president for finance and administration told the board in a virtual meeting that the impact on the community is something that is discussed every day by the school as it prepares for the beginning of students' arrival on Aug. 24.
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The committee did not disclose a starting date for McCandless, who currently is the superintendent of the Pittsfield Public Schools. Pittsfield has voted to hold McCandless to the 90-day notice in his contract.
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