Marlborough – Dr. Anthony Pope has resigned from his post as superintendent of the Marlborough Public Schools. The decision was reached in a mutual agreement with the School Committee during the committee's execution session June 26.
Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who is also the chair of the School Committee, said in a statement that the terms of the complete agreement would be announced once the final document was signed. Pope has been with the district for the past two years; his resignation is effective as of July 2.
Maureen Greulich, who has been with the school system for 20 years, has been named as Acting Superintendent until a replacement is hired. Vigeant said it is hoped that the process will be completed before the start of the new school year in September.
Pope's resignation comes after months of contention between him, the mayor, the Marlborough Educators Association (MEA) and the school community at-large. Trouble started brewing after Pope, without publicly explaining why, put on leave and then subsequently fired Marlborough High School (MHS) Assistant Principal Adam Bakr in January. After that decision, several MHS students organized a rally at the school, started a Facebook page in Bakr's defense and attended School Committee meetings in an attempt to get him reinstated.
When Pope visited the school Jan. 27, he allegedly engaged in what the MEA claimed was “intimidating behavior” toward those students and a high school guidance counselor who claimed that Pope had pushed her. (Local police investigated that claim but did not press charges.)
On May 17, the MEA took a unanimous vote of “no confidence” in Pope. He did not attend MHS graduation ceremonies at the request of the students.
At the June 12 School Committee meeting, Pope read a prepared statement of apology for “misunderstandings” without mentioning specifics. He suggested establishing focus groups to help improve relations with teachers and students in an effort to rebuild damaged relationships emanating from the controversies that had transpired.
Greulich said she is excited about taking on the new temporary role. She started in the Marlborough school system as a Latin teacher and was promoted to Language Coordinator. She is currently an Instructional Leadership Director. School Board members Jennifer Hardy and Mark Hediger said they had complete confidence in Greulich and that she was a very good choice for the interim position.
Pope released this statement after the meeting:
I would like to thank the community of Marlborough for the opportunity to serve the students and families of the school district. We have accomplished many great things in a short period of time that can be the foundation and building blocks for future growth.
We outlined a five-year strategic plan in Believe 2016. We developed the district's first preK-12 curriculum framework, and we have developed and are ready to implement the long-awaited curriculum to bring the consistency needed for teaching and learning. We implemented a successful STEM Early College High School Program, which has the largest enrollment in the state. We reconfigured the middle and high schools to make them more grade appropriate for children.
We should be proud of the work that we have been able to do for our children. I am very confident that the great educators who have played an essential role in this work will continue to move it forward. I wish the Marlborough School community the best.