HUDSON – Daniel Riley, the current principal of Marlborough High School, has led his school since 2018.
Daniel Riley came before the Hudson School Committee on March 16 as a candidate for the new superintendent of schools in Hudson, one of five candidates who could fill the role after Superintendent Marco Rodrigues announced his retirement.
He was drawn to this profession because he wants to help kids, and it is something he would like to do for many years.
From 2013 to 2018, Riley also served as the supervisor of mathematics for grades 6 to 12 for the Marlborough Public Schools, where he supervised and evaluated 30 mathematics teachers across middle and high schools. In that role, he aligned local curriculum with Massachusetts state standards and delivered professional development opportunities for teachers.
He used the words “kind,” “respectful” and “innovative” to describe his style as an administrator. He said that kindness and being respectful “lends itself to a healthy and well-productive environment.”
Riley believed being innovative is being a leader who can synthesize a lot of different data to find a solution. People need to be brought together to solve whatever problem there is, whether it concerns the budget or academic achievements in the schools.
“I’ve done that throughout my career trajectory,” he said. “I think you need an innovative leader who is going to look at some of the difficulties that we face.”
When developing a budget, Riley said he has made adjustments in his own budget at Marlborough High School in the salary and resource line items and, after assessing the school’s needs, he looks at finding the resources that meet those needs.
Adjustments are made with the central office team and director of finance, he noted. Riley said as salaries comprise over 80% of the budget, funding this item comes first for him followed by special education and out-of-district placements.
Riley has heard about the School Committee’s work with the central office to ask for an additional funding refund from the state. He called the strategy a wonderful one as the town has worked with the School Committee to provide the funds and shown “a willingness to invest in education.”
The community must understand what the long-term investment for the schools and “what it is they’re investing in.”
“They’re not just paying for the education of students pre-K to 12,” Riley said. “They’re paying for the future of the community.”
He discussed his thoughts on how to create an equitable environment for everyone in the school community. The strategy in Marlborough was to empower the staff and students and share each other’s stories.
“I felt there was a strong need for leadership, but not just leadership from the top down,” he said.
He selected a lead teacher for what he calls an anti-bias, anti-racist program, which trains leadership to understand where there is bias and the reason why doing such work is important.
“We were then able to bring that training and that work to the staff,” he said.
The staff at Marlborough High School is delving into the curriculum and seeing if it is aligning with the practice of anti-bias as well as reflecting the student body. He believed that a better job could be done “giving students a voice.”
Riley said of students sharing their experiences, “You have to provide an opportunity here for the students.”
He also strives to address equity issues “by building support.”
He added, “As the leader of the school district, there needs to be a set of core values.”
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