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.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Committee Moves Toward Decision on Interim Super

The Beverly Citizen has posted a summary of Tuesday's interim superintendent interviews, and reports that retired Somerville superintendent Dr. Albert Argenziano has emerged as the leading contender. This view was confirmed by several community members who attended both the afternoon interviews and a meeting later in the evening at which the committee discussed the interviews.

The majority of the committee moved quickly past the other two candidates, and settled on Argenziano as the best choice of the three. Mayor Scanlon reportedly was so enthuthiastic in his for support for Argenziano that he initially made a motion to vote on his selection on the spot, pending a positive reference check. The motion was later tabled until the next meeting, which will be held on Friday evening.

But while it seemed to be the consensus that Argenziano was the strongest of the three, not all members were sold on whether he possessed all the skills they were looking for. According to the Citizen:
After the interviews were concluded, some members of the committee were not ready to make a choice on the three, the consensus among the committee being that Dr. Argenziano was the strongest candidate in leading the search for a permanent superintendent but not for taking care of the day-to-day operations of the district.
The fact that this person also needs to immediately hire an assistant superintendent is also a major consideration. 

Community members who attended Tuesday's meetings report some frustration with what they see as a hasty, and less than inclusive process into an important decision for the district. The three contenders were chosen in just over a week's time, and the first public report of their identity was in Tuesday's Salem News. They were interviewed in short half-hour sessions that were attended by principals and administrators, but only a handful of members of the public. There appear to be no plans to conduct a follow-up interview, or consider other candidates.

Some were also troubled that the later evening discussion meeting was not announced to the public or most staff at all, except at the joint School Committee/City Council meeting that preceded it, which itself was so poorly publicized that only four members of the community attended.

As it stands now, the committee is checking the references of Dr. Argenziano, looking into the possibility of retaining Assistant Superintendent Duffy on a per diem basis, and planning to meet again Friday at 5pm in the library of the high school.  It appears likely that they will take up Mayor Scanlon's motion to vote on the hiring of Argenziano, but it is unclear how the full committee will vote.

Given the importance of this decision to the continuing progress of the district, and the swiftness at which this process is moving, its important that interested members of the school community attend Friday's meeting, and pay close attention to the process by which this and other decisions within the district are being made.


Julie D said...

The joint SC/CC council meeting is a joke. This year's lackluster agenda mimicked those of past years. According to the Salem News, “Topics on the agenda include an update on the middle school project, the payments/services in lieu of taxes program, consolidation of school and city services, and Beverly High School’s Marine JROTC program.” At last year’s meeting, according to the Beverly Citizen, “They heard reports and discussed the success of the building and grounds consolidation, technology, and plans for a new middle school and support for the city from the nonprofit community.” Looks like essentially the same list of topics. The topics on the 2006 agenda: high school construction, technology in our schools, Briscoe middle school building maintenance, and consolidation of city and school services. Seems like there is much talk about the same things year after year but not much collaboration, communication, or action.

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Jeremy Basingstoke said...

Beverly Schools simply have to be saved. This was a good read, and I will be active in spreading the word about creating more communication and action amongst those in command to try and do my part towards this matter. Surely the Teaching of the children should be the main priority? Baffles me.

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