School Committee lauds Sawyer’s 2023-2024 performance


School Committee lauds Sawyer’s 2023-2024 performance
Superintendent Joe Sawyer, echoing Tim McGraw, tells graduates to “always stay humble and kind” in his 2024 Shrewsbury High School graduation remarks. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – On June 13, the School Committee assessed the performance of Superintendent Joe Sawyer, who has led the district for the last 15 years.

School Committee member Sandra Fryc, who assembled the evaluation, painted a positive and complimentary picture of Sawyer’s performance from May 2023 to April 2024.

Sawyer met almost all goals and was deemed “exemplary” in many areas, including “management and operations” and “family and community engagement.” In her remarks, Fryc complimented Sawyer on navigating many unexpected challenges, including supporting vocational-technical initiatives after students lost access to Assabet Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, successfully integrating students living at the emergency shelter into the district, assessing school security and tackling COVID-era learning gaps.

“Shrewsbury Public Schools is a highly efficient and effective district due to Dr. Sawyer’s hard work and dedication to public education. Public education is challenging work, and he has successfully navigated the uncertainty of providing educational services during the pandemic and then focusing on improving resulting learning gaps,” Fryc said.

School Committee members noted that Sawyer assumed some human resources responsibilities after an extended absence of a staff member. The committee also commended Sawyer for several initiatives, including bolstering the district’s commitment to literacy and the opening of Maple & Main.

Sawyer’s ability to connect with students, staff, and the community was praised.

“I think you’ve been thoughtful, available and transparent. You’ve built a very positive community within our district. This year, especially with some of the challenges we’ve seen, you’ve remained steadfast. You’ve listened, and you’ve acted. You’re both student- and staff-focused and you are a fierce advocate for both groups and our district as a whole,” School Committee member Rachel Sharifipour said.

“Our district embodies both high standards but also a culture of belonging and respect for both staff and students. And I think that starts at the top. … Holistically, I think your leadership is one of the things that makes Shrewsbury a great district. I continue to be very grateful we have you in charge,” said School Committee member Lynsey Heffernan.

Sawyer, for his part, said he’s lucky to have an incredible team around him.

“I’m humbled and appreciative … I had the opportunity to support people and say ‘yes’ to a lot of good ideas. The team of folks we have is extraordinary. I’d like to thank the School Committee for their support,” he said.

“I really appreciate the thoughtful, transparent, data-driven approach you take to leading our district … It does take a village, but leadership starts at the top. You’ve exemplified great leadership, and I also appreciate the relationship you have with students and staff and the community … It’s really awesome to see that,” School Committee Chair Jon Wensky said at the end of the meeting.

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