READING - In a surprise announcement at the close of the School Committee meeting last night, veteran Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Doherty read a prepared statement.

He announced he was taking a leave of absence from his dutuies starting at the close of business today, Friday July 28. The announcement cought at least some of the School Committee members by surprise and came as the meeting was about to be adjourned. There was no comment on the announcement by the School Committee.

In the statement Doherty appointed Gail Dowd, the schools Chief Financial Officer to take over running the schools.

Doherty is known as a hands-on Superintendent of Schools, personally involved in all aspects and decision making for the Reading Schools.

Doherty’s announcement appears below, he declined to elaborate on his statement when reached this morning except to say that the length of the leave was indefinite at this time.

Statement of Supt. pf Schools Dr. John Doherty

“Effective at the end of the day tomorrow, June 28th, I will be taking a leave of absence from the Reading Public Schools for personal and family responsibilities. In my absence, Gail Dowd, our Chief Financial Officer, will be in charge and I have complete confidence in her and the rest of the central office team of Chris Kelley, Jen Stys, and Jen Bove, and the building principals.”

“I truly appreciate the people that I work with and the work they do each and every do for our students. We have a very talented team of Central Office Administrators and Principals. I also want to thank Sharon Stewart for the amazing job that she has done this year and will forward to her continuing to work with Jennifer Stys in her role as a mentor.”

“I want to thank the School Committee for their continued support during my leave. I look forward to coming back.”

The next meeting of the School Committee which includes the reorganization of the committee (election of a new chairman, etc. ) will be July 11.

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