School Committee to interview O’Connor for Superintendent post

Westborough – Explaining that the internal posting of the district’s superintendent of schools position has netted what they consider a viable candidate, the Westborough School Committee announced at its Nov. 18 meeting that it would interview Marianne O’Connor, currently the town’s assistant superintendent of schools for the post.

O’Connor has been in the field of education for more than 30 years, the last 18 in Westborough. During her time in town O’Connor has served as a substitute and second- and third-grade teacher, a principal at both Fales Elementary and Mill Pond schools and, for the last six years, assistant superintendent. When she accepted the assistant superintendent position it was called the director of curriculum and instruction.

“I love what I do currently, and would be more than happy to remain in my current role as assistant superintendent,” O’Connor said. “That said, the position of superintendent is one that intrigues me. It’s an opportunity I didn’t think I could aff ord not to pursue.”

Prior to arriving in Westborough, O’Connor was a teacher at schools in North Carolina, New York and New Hampshire.

O’Connor’s decision to throw her hat in the superintendent ring was met with overall approval and delight by current superintendent Anne Towle, who will retire on June 30 after five years in the position.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Towle said. “I completely endorse her candidacy. She has 110 percent of my support.”

Towle said that one of the long-term goals she was given by the School Committee when she accepted the superintendent position five years ago was to groom O’Connor for the superintendent position.

Karen Henderson, chairman of the School Committee said many respondents to an on-line survey about the position – which was completed by nearly 200 Westborough parents, teachers, administrators and town official s — mentioned O’Connor by name.

Henderson warmly welcomed O’Connor’s interest in the position, as did all the other School Committee members present at the meeting – Bruce Tretter, Craig Harris and Ilyse Levine-Kanji.

Steve Doret, the fifth member of the School Committee was not in attendance at the Nov. 18 meeting. Henderson announced at the meeting that Doret was out of town due to a business commitment.

Harris, who along with Tretter was on the School Committee when Towle was hired, cautioned that the announcement that the School Committee would interview O’Connor was a not an indication that O’Connor would be the district’s next superintendent.

“This is just the first step in what is a long process,” Harris said. “This is by no means a slam-dunk. A lot of work still needs to be done.

“This process (identifying an internal candidate and interviewing he or she before deciding to open up the process to candidates outside the district) is a diff erent way to go,” Harris said, “But I think it’s a good decision to go in this direction. I think it’s always a good thing when you have a chance to entertain a candidate within your school system.”

Henderson said the School Committee will interview O’Connor next month and that plans are in the works to make O’Connor available for question-and-answer sessions with parents, students, faculty and staff members. She said if the School Committee chooses not to off er O’Connor the position the post will then be advertised for candidates who do not work in the district.

Harris confirmed that the School Committee’s decision to seek an internal candidate before looking outside the system came after Glenn Koocher, the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees visited with them in October.

Koocher told the committee that the potential superintendent pool has become a puddle with 34 school districts looking to fill superintendent positions. Koocher said the number of districts seeking to fill superintendent positions could rise to 48 before the beginning of the next academic year.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=6086

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