Town Crier

BILLERICA — Re­cent­ly, it was announced that Shawsheen Tech Super­intendent/Director Brad Jackson has decided to renew Principal Jessica Cook’s contract for the 2020-2021 school year. Cook’s new contract will expire on June 30, 2021, and will be reevaluated at the end of the school year in regards to possible renewal.

This announcement comes after backlash following the announcement in early May that the district was choosing not to renew Cook’s contract for the 2020-2021 school year. In response to the decision, a Change.org petition was launched in op­position, gaining over 2,800 signatures.

“As the leader of our school community, Ms. Cook has shown the dedication and ability to both continue the proud traditions of Shawsheen Tech and provide the forward thinking direction that allows our school to be the preeminent CVTE school in Massachu­setts,” the petition’s de­scription reads. “The re­moval of Ms. Cook during this unprecedented pandemic and without a full-time, permanent su­perintendent is both un­wise and irresponsible.”

Prior to serving as principal, Cook was first hired as a history teacher in 2009. She was promoted to principal in 2018, and has received kudos from students, parents, and faculty alike for her work at the school.

In response to her contract renewal, Cook ex­pressed gratitude, as she looks towards filling a mentorship role for students and faculty in the face of upcoming structural changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just feel I am where I belong here as principal,” said Cook in an in­terview with Wicked Lo­cal Billerica. “I am looking forward to working with this new group to further that mission. I have always strived to find mentorship.”

Cook, as well as the rest of the Shawsheen Tech faculty and administration now look tow­ards the upcoming school year, as they work to prepare students and parents for the launch of the recently-announced hy­brid learning model in the fall.

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