Marlborough schools superintendent search narrows to four finalists

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The Marlborough School Committee’s Search Committee recently put forward a slate of finalists for the city’s schools superintendent job. (Photo by/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – The search for Marlborough’s next schools superintendent took a step forward last week when the School Committee accepted a slate of finalists put forward by the Superintendent Search Committee.

Those finalists include Woburn Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Michael Baldassarre, Marlborough Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Mary Murphy, Marblehead Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Nan Murphy and Worcester Manager for Instruction and School Leadership at the Secondary Level Timothy Sippel.

Finalists will now visit Marlborough on April 27 and May 2 to tour schools, interview with the School Committee and field questions from community members.

Those meet-the-candidate sessions will be held in the Little Theater at Marlborough High School at the following times.

April 27

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Nan Murphy

6:30-7:30 p.m. – Michael Baldassarre

May 2

5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Timothy Sippel

6:30-7:30 p.m. – Mary Murphy.

Four candidates vie for Superintendent position

Mary Murphy has worked in the Marlborough Schools since 2003, working as a principal prior to her current assistant superintendent role.

Nan Murphy worked for Lowell Public Schools and the state Department of Education in various roles before her Marblehead position. She remained in Lowell there from 2011 to 2019, where she was an elementary school principal before being promoted in 2017 to the role of Director of Accountability and School Improvement.

Murphy was named as a finalist for the superintendent’s position in Tewksbury earlier this month, according to the Tewksbury Carnation. That district had not yet made its final selection as of Wednesday.

Baldassarre became the superintendent of the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District in 2007 and stayed there until 2013. More recently, he worked as the Director of Special Education in Everett before taking his job in Woburn.

Baldassarre is also a finalist for the superintendent position in Sutton, according to the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle. He is scheduled to interview there on April 29.

Sippel worked in Los Angeles and Pasadena, Calif. schools from 1991 to 2017, before coming to Massachusetts, where he enrolled in a doctoral education program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. He took a job as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent in the Cambridge Public Schools in 2019, then moving to his current job in Worcester in 2020.

School Committee continues superintendent search

Current Marlborough Superintendent Michael Bergeron announced plans in January to leave his role at the end of this school year.

Bergeron has worked for the Marlborough Public Schools since 2014, rising to the position of superintendent in 2018.

He’s now concluding that tenure, though, telling the Community Advocate in January that he plans to transition into a private sector position with a board game publisher in New Hampshire.

He has vowed to help facilitate a smooth transition for his successor.

“I feel this is the best choice for me and my family,” he said of his overall decision.

The School Committee formed its Search Committee just over two months after Bergeron’s announcement, back in early March.

It placed Mayor Arthur Vigeant on the Search Committee alongside Ryan and fellow School Committee member Dan Caruso.

The committee also included two teachers, a school administrator, a parent and a city administrator.

Meeting minutes from a Feb. 1 Marlborough School Committee workshop discussing the superintendent search showed members expressing a preference for candidates within Massachusetts.

The committee further highlighted a need for experience in financial management, with minutes saying members did not want “someone who wants to start all over again.”

‘Time is of the essence’

School Committee Secretary Heidi Matthews asked Search Committee Chair Ryan, last week, whether any of Marlborough’s current superintendent finalists are also candidates for positions in other school systems.

“Time is of the essence,” she added after Ryan confirmed that some of the finalists were indeed finalists in other districts.

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