In an effort to replace former Superintendent-Director Timothy Broadrick who resigned last year to accept a position in New Hampshire at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, the Shawsheen Technical High School’s School Committee began a superintendent search last fall. Students from Burlington, Wilmington, Tewksbury, Bedford, and Billerica attend Shawhseen.
The committee, led by chairman Robert Gallagher, appointed an advisory screening committee consisting of 13 people to assist with the search. Members of the committee include faculty (three members: one from administration, academic and vocational), local representatives from member towns (five representing each of the five towns) and School Committee members representing all five towns. Parents, along with business and civic leaders, were encouraged to submit letters of interest to the School Committee.
The committee’s main objectives have been to review applicants, interview semi-finalists and recommend candidates to the School Committee for final interviews. It met throughout the months of November and December, with semi-finalist interviews the week befor Christmas.
The screening committee eventually chose four candidates to move on to the final round where two were interviewed last week and two more will be interviewed this week (Thursday and Friday).
The candidates are Jenna Lesko, Assistant Principal of Supervision and Professional Development at Shawsheen, Thomas Aubin, former Superintendent-Director of Diman Regional Technical High School in Fall River, Dr. Kelly Fay, Coordinator of Curriculum and Staff Development at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, and Dr. Susan Kustka, former Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Personnel at Weymouth Public Schools.
As part of the interview process, the candidates were welcomed to visit Shawsheen to meet with any interested stakeholders, as well as get a feel for the school and community (staff and students). Anyone wishing to meet with a candidate should email Executive Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent Karen Faiola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School Committee member from Bedford, Nancy Asbedian, told the Bedford Citizen back in November how “the selection of a new superintendent is an important process which requires the participation and support of interested community members.”
Currently, Assistant Superintendent-Director of Finance Melanie Hagman serves at interim Superintendent-Director. According to School Committee Vice Chairman Robert Peterson, she didn’t apply for the permanent position.
In a letter dated October 2019, chairman Gallagher wrote the committee is “currently searching for the next Superintendent of Schools, to being serving on July 1, 2020.”
In the letter, the chairman asked for community participation to help figure out what qualifications the next superintendent should possess. Therefore, the committee conducted several focus groups to gather input from stakeholder groups. These focus groups were conducted by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) who has been retained by the School Committee as its search consultant.
The committee also started an online survey to receive input from anyone not able to attend one of the focus groups.
Once applications rolled in, screening committee chair Patricia Meuse said they received 12. From there, her committee narrowed the number down to six. After one candidate dropped out, the screening committee chose four to move on for final interviews and meet and greets.
Following the site visits, Meuse told the Lowell Sun that public interviews would be held on Monday, Feb. 24 and Tuesday, Feb. 25.
“I think we have well-qualified, able candidates and hopefully we’ll be able to come to an agreement,” Meuse added.
Back in March of 2019, then-Superintendent-Director Broadrick surprised some by resigning in the middle of the school year to take a job in New Hampshire. Shawsheen hired him three years prior to fill the void left by former Superintendent-Director Charles Lyons.
Broadrick resigned on a Friday, and by the following Tuesday the School Committee appointed an interim Superintendent-Director to take over.
At the time, the committee sent out an email which read, in part, “The Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational Technical School Committee is deeply regretful to announce that it has received a letter of resignation of Mr. Timothy Broadrick, who has served admirably as its Superintendent-Director for more than three years.”
Broadrick had been employed by the school for 12 years before it promoted him to the position of Superintendent-Director. Some of the projects he helped the district complete include the new outdoor athletic campus, the installation of a new fire alarm system, renovation of the swimming pool and security updates at the high school, and almost $1M of grant-funded equipment purchases. The school system was also able to add electives and dual-enrollment courses with Middlesex Community College to its academic schedule.
Upon Broadrick’s initial promotion to lead the technical vocational school, Robert Peterson, from Wilmington, who led the search committee, told the Town Crier, “He’s done just about everything. (Tim) is a people person with political savvy. He’s very astute about the big picture.”
Peterson would later add he felt everyone voted for the right candidate.
The former Shawsheen head started his new job back in July of last year, saying at the time that he planned on serving in a part-time capacity for the first few years while pursuing his doctorate. While he could have stayed on and finished out the last school year, both the committee and Broadrick agreed an interim leader would most benefit the Shawsheen community.
This means interim Superintendent-Director Melanie Hagman has been in place since March of 2019 and will remain until July 1, 2020 when the School Committee settles on a new Superintendent-Director.
According to the committee, Broadrick wrote in his letter of resignation, “Many in our community know that I have previously expressed interest in making a transition from the world of vocational schools into the K-12 comprehensive school arena.”
“I am pursuing a path,” he added, “that will afford me that opportunity while also allowing me the time and opportunity to complete a doctoral degree during the next few years.”