AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – With less than two weeks until the start of the school year, Amherst-Pelham superintendent Dr. Michael Morris has announced his resignation.
The resignation of Dr. Morris occurred just about three months after three middle school staff members were placed on paid leave following a Title IX investigation.
A separation agreement and release signed by Dr. Morris have confirmed his decision to resign. In a joint statement, Dr. Morris and the school committees said it was a mutual decision to end his seven-year tenure as superintendent. And that there was no wrongdoing on Dr. Morris’s part to cause this leadership change.
In the last seven years, the statement noted that the three school districts had a lot of success, like the Caminantes Dual Language Program and the Amherst Public Schools School Building Project; stabilizing a dire budget situation and increasing student enrollment in Pelham; changing start times for Regional School students to align with research; and increasing diversity.
In the statement, the Committees wished him well, “Mike appreciates the support he has received from the Committees and the many staff and community members who have reached out to him over the past several months. He will remain available to assist the district in any way requested by his successor.”
Amherst School Committee member, Peter Demling statement read:
“This is a profoundly sad day and a tremendous loss for our public schools. Mike was a trusted leader with decades of service to ARPS and a long track-record of promoting LGBTQ rights and putting student well-being at the heart of all his actions. He received consistently high praise from the community over many years, and showed time and again to be a person of immense compassion who led by example with humility and kindness. And yet despite all this there was a rush to judge and condemn him without a complete set of facts, spurred on by an APEA leadership openly hostile to school leaders ever since the conflict over COVID; going so far as to misrepresent a so-called “vote” of no confidence in him to justify their actions. Our community would do well to realize the long term negative impact of such actions when deciding the future direction of our public schools. The silent majority cannot continue to take public figures for granted like this if we want the best education for our children. People must speak out.”Amherst School Committee member, Peter Demling
Dr. Morris has agreed to run the district’s day-to-day until the end of the month so that the School Committees have time to pick a successor.