HUDSON — Dr. Brian Reagan, a former principal of Hudson High School, will return to serve the Hudson community in a different role: Superintendent of Schools.
After serving as the superintendent in Waltham Public Schools since 2020, Reagan was chosen as the next Hudson superintendent on March 28.
“This was not an easy decision,” said School Committee Chair Michele Tousignant Dufour.
After seeing the involvement and support of the Hudson community during the selection process, she noted it was “heartening to know we’re not alone” in working to serve the schools.
The vote to offer the position to Reagan came after a long deliberation in which the merits of four of the remaining candidates for the job were discussed. The vote was a tough and close one with the committee voting 4 to 3 for Reagan.
Dr. Alexandra McNeil, the assistant superintendent of Needham Public Schools, was the other candidate who garnered support from the committee.
Reagan will be filling the shoes of current Superintendent Marco Rodrigues, who announced in the fall that he planned to retire in June.
Tousignant Dufour called the evening “a culmination of a comprehensive and inclusive superintendent search process.”
The process began last September. As part of it, the School Committee hired a search consultant and created a profile of a successful candidate.
This profile was used by the Screening Committee, which was chaired by Molly MacKenzie and included School Committee members Steven Sharek and Chris Monsini. From a pool of 33 candidates, the committee narrowed it to five candidates: Reagan, McNeil, Dr. Jannell Pearson-Campbell and Dr. Daniel Riley.
The fifth candidate, Dr. June Saba-Maguire, accepted a job as the Dartmouth superintendent prior to that meeting, Tousignant Dufour said.
As part of the School Committee’s deliberations, Monsini said the district was lucky to have “really great candidates.”
Committee members who supported Reagan noted his support in online feedback and his experience with Hudson Public Schools.
Chris Yates called Reagan “the most experienced candidate we have,” adding that everything he said in his interview was from experience as Waltham’s superintendent. He said he believed Reagan would have a lesser learning curve for the job because he is from Hudson and worked in the HPS before.
In regards to the school staff feedback, he added, “I have to listen to what the community wants.”
Sharek also noted Reagan’s past experience. Both Sharek and fellow committee member Steven Smith praised his budgeting experience.
Of being a positive face for the HPS to the town, Sharek added, “He’ll do an exceptional job.”
While he eventually supported Reagan, Smith also highlighted McNeil’s knowledge of zero-based budgeting and how she could benefit English Language Learners, or ELL students.
Other committee members voiced their support for McNeil. MacKenzie said she narrowed it down to Reagan and McNeil. McNeil was her first choice due to her experience turning around a school district academically and making a dual language school thrive. However, she did call Reagan a “stellar candidate.”
Tousignant Dufour also praised her experience with zero-based budgeting.
She met the candidates and watched them interact with staff. She noted how McNeil’s answers to question from stakeholders got deeper throughout the day. McNeil also sought input from people about the type of leader they were looking for.
Committee member Mark Terra-Salomão, who is bilingual, said while every candidate had their strengths, his first choice was McNeil because of her experience with a dual language program and her “lived experiences” as a bilingual Cuban-American.
He spoke of people who wrote in support of her, adding, “They thought she would advocate for their kids in a way that hasn’t always been done.”
Terra-Salomão said the new superintendent, regardless of whom is chosen, will need to be kept “on task across the board and on ELL.”