This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cove Takes Some Hits

Dr. Hayes has confirmed that popular Cove principal Karla Pressman will be moving to Centerville, as part of the elementary school reshuffling. This latest hit comes on the heels of earlier losses of Gym teacher Chris Roy, and Art teacher Gretchen Kiesling, both of whom will be leaving the district. There are also several other probable teacher losses coming as a result of redistricting.

Pressman will be replaced on an interim basis at Cove by Stacey Busick, who is currently an Administrative Team Chair in the Special Education Department.

Below is an email that went to Cove and Centerville staff.

Dear Centerville and Cove Staff Members,

Attached is a press release that will be issued later today and which announces that I have named Karla Pressman to be the new Principal of Centerville Elementary School and Stacy Bucyk to be the Interim Principal of Cove Elementary School for the 2008-09 school year. I am sure this comes as a surprise to just about all of you, and I am sending you this email to help you better understand this decision.

The Centerville Search Committee sent me three candidates in March as finalists for the Centerville principalship. That process was put on hold because of the budget shortfall discussion about closing schools and was restarted when the budget was approved June 12th. One candidate withdrew and I was not satisfied that the other two candidates were the right people for the job. I reviewed resumes of other candidates interviewed but found no one whose background interested me. I know many of you supported Chris S [3rd grade teacher
Christine Sarantopoulous, per Salem News] for this position. Though she was an impressive candidate, making the leap from classroom to principal in the same school is extremely difficult for anyone, and I was unwilling to put her in that circumstance.

I greatly appreciate the work of the Search Committee to identify quality candidates. However, the responsibility to appoint principals is mine, and the success of our schools depends upon making the best hires possible for leadership of our schools. And I have done that by appointing Karla and Stacy! Given that it is late June and not early April, I don’t have time for the usual options for a process in selecting principals. I reassigned Karla to Centerville because I believe that school faces more change than any other next year as it adjusts to a new population and becomes a Title I school. I felt a strong need to place an experienced principal there to help the school make that adjustment. Karla is perfect for that role. And I then needed a strong administrator to lead the Cove School as it experiences changes in population and the addition of the AIM program. I have been impressed with Stacy Bucyk since seeing her success as an administrative intern at Ayers a number of years ago. She has filled in for the Special Education Director when she was on a long-term leave, is currently assisting the Director in leadership of that department, and has done a terrific job in both roles. She is ready to take on the role of principal, and, with mentoring from Karla and the support of other colleagues, I know she will do a fine job as Cove principal.

Deciding to move Karla from Cove to Centerville was not easy. Karla has done a terrific job at Cove, and they are going through changes too. I know how much she will be missed. But the need for someone with her experience and expertise at Centerville was greater, and as Superintendent I had to address that need or risk a very difficult situation at Centerville. I felt Cove was in a better position to adjust to a new principal; Cove will continue to be successful even with new leadership. And so I asked Karla and then Stacy to fill these needs. While both of them are leaving behind work and relationships that they enjoy, they are enthusiastic about an opportunity to take on new challenges in their careers. They are already collaborating on how to make the transition to their new roles. Both are eager to get into their new settings, meet with staff and parents, and get ready for the arrival of students. Officially, they begin their new assignments on July 1st. Actually, both will make a gradual transition from their current roles to their new, and neither school will lag behind because of this transition period.

One thing that is going to change very little – Centerville and Cove are staffed with terrific educators! I have every confidence that you will welcome these leaders into your school communities and rally around them to make the new school year a success! If you can, contact your new principal by sending an email or dropping in during the summer – every connection makes the transition that much easier!

I hope you all have a great summer!

Jim


6/25 UPDATE: Today's Salem News has the story.