EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Easthampton School Committee is in the process of looking for an interim superintendent, along with two committee members.
There was a work session on Monday night to pick the interim superintendent candidates that will head into the interview process. Working with The Massachusetts Association of School Committees, the Easthampton School Committee has selected four candidates. The four candidates are Maureen Benienda, Marlene DiLeo, Roland Joyal, and Mary Jane Rickson.
In a statement to 22News, the Easthampton Mayor said in part, “Each one is a licensed Superintendent with different experiences. The Committee reviewed each resume and decided to interview all four. I am looking forward to interviewing one,” said Mayor Nichole LaChapelle. “It is expected that each candidate will be interviewed by June 15.
The committee says they hope to have the position filled by July 1, and the process will begin this month to fill the two empty seats on the School Committee. This comes after Shannon Dunham, and most recently Laurie Garcia, resigned from the school committee over the superintendent search.
Dunham and Garcia were the only two school committee members to support restarting negotiations with Dr. Vito Perrone, whose position was rescinded due to wording he used in an email. The second pick, Dr. Erica Faginski-Stark, backed out after some of her Facebook posts sparked controversy.
Easthampton City Council President, Homar Gomez tells 22News, “It’s a loss, they did a great job. We have to recognize that sometimes we have to make tough decisions, those decisions should be made by the information that we have in front of us or thinking what is best for the community.”
Gomez adds that he hopes new members will contribute to the search, “They will be open to listening to the community, and they follow the rules. Do what they believe is right, and stay with it. That decision is important for our kids, our students, and that should be their goal to hire someone who can protect and give a really good education.” Gomez says candidates from diverse backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply for the committee seats.
Wednesday at 7 p.m., the council and the committee will meet to begin the process of filling these school committee vacancies; and next week, they’ll hear from potential candidates.