School Committee selects Newburyport superintendent to fill vacancy
Hudson – Kevin Lyons will be the town’s third superintendent of schools in 11 months when he takes over the top spot in the school district Wednesday July 1.
Lyons, who was selected March 17 by a 6-1 vote of the School Committee, will replace interim Superintendent Stephen Dlott, the former Westborough superintendent who was hired after Nina Schlikin resigned from the position in August 2008.
Lyons comes to Hudson from Newburyport, where he has been superintendent since 2006. Prior to that he was the assistant superintendent of schools in Hopkinton, from 2001 to 2006. Lyons arrived in Hopkinton in 2001 after spending three years as the executive director of student services in Haverhill, where he also taught elementary and middle school classes and served as a reading specialist.
Lyons was chosen by the School Committee over the other finalist, Mary Czajkowski, the Agawam superintendent of schools.
Czajkowski has been superintendent in Agawam since 2002, after beginning in that community in 1996 as curriculum and instruction director before moving to the position of assistant superintendent in 1998. She began her career in education in 1980 as a science and math teacher at East Longmeadow High school. Czajkowski was promoted to that district’s health education curriculum coordinator in 1985.
Czajkowski visited Hudson, participated in a community forum and sat for a final interview March 16, while Lyons did the same the following day, prior to the School Committee’s vote. Questions in the final interview covered a number of topics, including a vision for the district, curriculum and instruction, leadership style, fiscal management and communication.
During his interview with the School Committee, Lyons revealed that he is a devotee of the arts.
“I am very committed to the fine arts," Lyons said. "The arts are core, not extra. I firmly believe a complete and overall education is very important and the arts are part of that education.”
Student participation is also high on Lyons list of goals.
“The students need to have a voice, and use that voice,” Lyons said. “When they’re using that voice, that’s a clear sign that something good is happening – that lines of communication are open and that students respect their teachers enough to interact with them. When teachers are not reaching students, that line of communication is not there.”
Even though the vote was not unanimous, every member of the School Committee acknowledged Lyons would be a good fit in Hudson.
“Both candidates had great interviews and I think both would do a terrific job,” School Committee Chair Tom Green said. “But at the end of the day, in my opinion, Dr. Lyons’s experience and the way he presented himself made him the ideal candidate.”
School Committee member Susan Dunnell agreed with Lyons.
“He was a perfect fit in every way to what I was looking for in our next superintendent,” Dunnell said.
Green said the selection of Lyons as superintendent is contingent on contract negotiations, reference checks and a site visit.
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