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Message from the School Committee

October 3, 2023


There are a few ideas that I would like to share with you this evening. First, many thank you’s. Next, a few comments on the workings of the School Committee over the last few months. Finally, a few announcements.

I would like to thank the Minuteman community and all of our stakeholders for your patience during this difficult process. Thank you to our students, parents, town officials, and citizens of the Minuteman district. Thank you to those who participated in the investigation. Deciding to participate is not an easy choice. Thank you and gratitude to our teachers, administrators, and staff who kept everything working smoothly despite the challenges of the last few months. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The School Committee understands that there has been a long wait for information regarding the future of Minuteman leadership. However, due to the topics of our deliberations, the Committee has an obligation to maintain confidentiality. For this reason, despite considerable pressure, we made the difficult choice to remain silent. We believe that it would have been both inappropriate and unhelpful to have made any premature statement.

I would like to thank my fellow School Committee members for their outstanding efforts. We are not an organization where leadership can, on its own, make immediate decisions. We are a deliberative body. We look at the information available, discuss it in detail, and then, if appropriate, vote.

Often our decision is that a decision cannot yet be made. More information may be needed, expert advice may be required, further deliberations may be necessary. Since school leadership is a critical issue we took pains to meet in person whenever possible and we made great efforts to choose days when all Committee members could be present.

The scheduling of meetings was particularly challenging during the summer. Members had long scheduled vacation plans. We were challenged by Covid and by family emergencies. Two new members joined the Committee in July.

School Committee members made sacrifices to attend meetings. They gave up vacation days, changed long-settled travel plans, and drove long hours to attend meetings in-person. One member drove an 8 hour round trip to attend a meeting. Another cut short a vacation and drove 12 hours without a break to be here on time. Our new members were diligent in ensuring that they understood both the issues involved and appropriate School Committee procedures. We spent many, many exhausting hours during long late night meetings.

So thank you School Committee members for your work and for your sacrifices. Despite the circumstances it was a pleasure working with you.

Finally, a special thank you to Kevin Mahoney, our acting superintendent, and to Kathleen Bouchard, our interim principal. Their leadership assured that the school was in competent hands. This allowed the School Committee to appropriately focus on our deliberations regarding school leadership. We are grateful that Kevin and Katie stepped up to accept these positions. I am sure the rest of the Minuteman community feels exactly the same way. Thank you Kevin, thank you Katie.

Now it's time to move on. Three announcements:

First, we have started the process of selecting an interim superintendent for the period late October 2023 until June 30, 2024. The position has been posted and we will accept applications over the next two weeks with a final selection shortly thereafter.

Second, we have begun the process of finding a permanent superintendent. The goal of the School Committee is to hire a new superintendent beginning July 1, 2024. We have formed a Superintendent Search subcommittee to begin this process. The search committee does not choose the Superintendent. Instead it is their job to develop a procedure which results in the selection of finalist candidates to be interview by the full School Committee. From these interviews the School Committee will either make an offer or decide to continue the search. This is a complex process with opportunities for some non-committee stakeholders to participate.

Finally, as you know, we have recently signed a settlement agreement with the former Superintendent-Director Dr. Kathleen Dawson. We do not anticipate any impact on staffing or harmful cuts to instructional programs due to this agreement. Furthermore the School Committee does not anticipate any further assessments to our member communities for this fiscal year.

This concludes my statement for this evening. Over the next weeks relevant settlement financial details will be made available and we will present numerous details regarding the Superintendent search process. Our next scheduled School Committee meeting will be the regular October meeting on October 10th. This will be a remote meeting which will include our usual public comment agenda item.

Thank you all, and good night.

Jeff Stulin

School Committee Representative (Needham), Minuteman School Committee ChairĀ