Hoosac Valley, North Adams to Share Athletic Director

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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Jeff Puleri
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Hoosac Valley Regional School District has entered into a shared services agreement with North Adams Public Schools for an athletic director, hiring Jeff Puleri for the position. 
"New, uncharted territory. But I think very necessary in terms of both districts looking to provide the best athletic opportunities for our students," said Superintendent Aaron Dean on the agreement at Monday's school committee meeting. 
Puleri is the assistant athletic director at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and will replace Molly Meczywor at Hoosac Valley and David Racette in North Adams. The Lee native had been at MCLA since 1999 and holds a degree in sports management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master of business from MCLA. 
Dean said the agreement should benefit both districts and their athletic programming. 
"The time was just kind of ripe for us to enter into this and really look at this as an opportunity to help both and have kind of a win-win," he said. 
Committee Chair Michael Mucci said there was an extensive athletic director search, which ultimately led to them hiring Puleri. Dean said Puleri seemed to be the best match for background and experience. 
"It really is exciting for both school systems. I think it's going to be a great benefit," he said. "We got our guy." 
Mucci said minor things will likely need to be worked out between the two districts regarding specific policy. Dean said none of these should be significant hurdles, but it is likely something will come up
"This is something that a lot of people are going to be talking about," Mucci said. "And we'll be talking about this a lot more in the days to come." 
The committee also approved minor revisions to the high school's phone policy. Dean said the changes should help enforcement and prevent phones from distracting students during instruction. 
"One thing that's become abundantly clear from our walkthrough data and other pieces is that we need to renew our enforcement of cell phones and when they're used and when they're not used," he said. 
The update allows students to use their phones when not in the classroom or study hall, such as at lunch and other transition periods. 
"Phones won't be out during instruction," he said. "I talked to other superintendents about what they do for policies and this seems to be kind of the most successful model. I happened to be on a school committee once that adopted something very similar. I think it gives students the ability to use them but also gives us the ability to set boundaries." 
The school, Dean said, will work out any edge cases or minor issues that arise. Something the school already did is purchase new calculators for every math teacher in the high school, as some students were using their phones as calculators. 
Committee member Mike Henault said the policy would likely be more effective if the adults had to follow it as well. Dean said this is something the district is looking at. 
"I think it would go a long way for the community and for students, to have buy-in, if they knew if the adults in the building were doing the same thing during instruction," he said.

Tags: athletic director,   HVRSD,   NAPS,   shared services,   

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Adams' Valley Street Shed Still Needs Funding

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new shed at Valley Street Field may be delayed due to a lack of funding. 


Mike Benson of the Adams/Cheshire Little League attended Monday's Parks Commission meeting and said the league is still working on obtaining funds for the shed. The town appropriated $3,000 for the shed as part of the fiscal 2023 budget and asked the league to match. 


"I've done a ton of fundraising this year to try to keep the costs low for the kids," Benson said, noting he could probably contribute about half of the $3,000 needed right now.


The league, Benson said, is in the process of ordering a new scoreboard for the field, one similar to the one recently installed at Russell Field. He said financing the scoreboard came first, as it was in the works before planning for the new shed began. 


"We had started the scoreboard thing before we heard anything about the shed," he said. "... We haven't asked the town for anything to do to help with the scoreboard. We're doing it all on our own, it's $3,500." 


Mark Pizani, an equipment operator at DPW, said they would likely be able to get more time out of the old shed if the league needs more time for funding. Benson said he would happily work with the town to clean the shed. 


"We can work it out with what we have. If we need another year out of it, it's really not a big deal," Pizani said. "That's my personal feeling. It would have been nice to have." 


Commission Chair James Fassell agreed the current shed can keep being used and said the group will revisit the issue in the future. 


"I just want to make sure it's for the good of the league and for the good of Adams," he said. 


In other business, Pizani updated the board on a berm near Russell Field, which the group was concerned could overflow onto the field. He said a significant amount of brush and debris was removed from the water since the last meeting, making an overflow less likely. 


"We cleaned that whole river out," he said. "We cleaned it out; it's in good shape. We took truckloads of debris and stuff out of the river." 

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