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Pittsfield to Begin Superintendent Search in the Fall

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The School Committee will begin its search for a new superintendent next month.
The committee voted Wednesday to table the superintendent search discussion until its September meeting allowing them time to focus on opening the schools.
"Having been through a number of these through the years putting this off to September when instruction will be open, one hopes, it would allow us to focus a little better,” School Committee member William Cameron said. "We might have a better sense of what we need going forward.
Outgoing Superintendent Jason McCandless will take up a new position leading the Mount Greylock Regional School District this fall.
Although the school officials have asked McCandless to stay in Pittsfield for the full 90 days in his contract, they would prefer to begin the superintendent search sooner than later.
Deputy Superintendent Joseph Curtis has already been appointed as the interim superintendent.
Chairwoman Katherine Yon pulled up a School Committee policy from the 1990s stating that they must begin the process at least 15 days after it is known that the position will be vacated. Specifically, it states they bring in a consultant.  
With actually opening school topping the committee's priorities, committee members agreed it may be worthwhile to begin the superintendent search in earnest this fall.
Also, Mayor Linda Tyer was not in attendance, and the committee agreed she needed to be present for any discussion surrounding the superintendent.
"She is a major player not just as a member of the School Committee but in terms of the city and financial support for the schools,” Cameron said.
Yon said she has been in contact with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) who told her if Pittsfield wanted to have a new superintendent ready for July 2021, they should start the search by at least January.
In other businesses, the School Committee granted the administration permission to begin rolling out the beginning of school year plans to families.
"I don’t think we should languish over this because we have already decided what the model is going to be,” Cameron said.
Although negotiations with bargaining units are ongoing and a memorandum of understanding has not been signed, the administration did not want to blindside parents with only weeks to go before school begins.
"We just wanted to have a discussion with the committee as we have done with our negotiation group to permit the release of information to our families on how we would open the school year,” Curtis said. 
The School Committee did approve a morning/afternoon hybrid learning plan but would begin fully remote before phasing that in.
McCandless said this still seems to be the plan going forward.
The information was to be released to families Friday and a series of virtual meetings for parents will be held they can ask questions and prepare for the beginning of the school year.
The working date for the first day of school had been Sept. 15. This date was later voted on by the School Committee when it accepted the revised school calendar.
Cameron said he did not think it would be possible to change the plan, even if they wanted to, because there has not been proper public notice.
The School Committee also voted to nominate Andrea Wadsworth of the Lee School Committee as the president-elect of MASC.
"I have had the privilege of working with Ms. Wadsworth for five years in education issues associated with Berkshire County," Cameron said. "She is highly energetic, very bright, and I think she would make an outstanding leader."
Wadsworth, who has served as the MASC Division VI chair, said the MASC's executive committee brings forth nominations for president. This year the person who would be nominated has instead decided to run for state representative.
Without a nomination, members can run from the delegation floor but only with the support of five Massachusetts school committees.

Tags: search committee,   superintendent,   

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Baker, Polito Won't Run in 2022

Staff Reports
BOSTON — After months of speculation on whether Charlie Baker or Karyn Polito would run for governor next year, both have pulled out of the race. 
In a statement Wednesday morning -- following the publication of an article quoting Baker allies in The Boston Globe -- the Baker-Polito campaign announced "we have decided not to seek re-election in 2022."
"This was an extremely difficult decision for us. We love the work, and we especially respect and admire the people of this wonderful Commonwealth. Serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts has been the most challenging and fulfilling jobs we’ve ever had. We will forever be grateful to the people of this state for giving us this great honor," the political team wrote in the campaign eblast.
Baker is one of the most popular governors in the nation and one of two Republican governors in New England praised for their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speculation on whether Baker would run for a third term or whether the mantle would fall to Polito has been swirling for months. 
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