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Tumultuous year for School Committee ends with appointment of new Superintendent

The+School+Committee+prepares+for+the+special+meeting+on+Dec.+20.
Screenshot from meeting broadcast on Facebook.
The School Committee prepares for the special meeting on Dec. 20.

On Monday, December 18, 2023 and Wednesday, December 20, 2023, the Everett School Committee held end-of-year meetings concerning the appointment of a new superintendent and the integrity of the search process.

At Monday’s meeting, School Committee Chair Michael Mangan ruled that public hearing would only be made available once the motion was made and that all speakers must state their case strictly to the subject matter. Mangan also gave the public two minutes to make their opinions known. The main topic covered was a petition pushed forward to stop the superintendent search and wait until the newly elected school committee members take their seats.

Cady Steinberg, an Everett native, spoke out in favor of the petition as well as questioning the integrity of the Committee and the search process. “Residents have spoken and do not trust many of you,” said Steinberg said. “This is city wide. This is statewide.  Everett is a laughing stock. We’ve had enough.”

EHS teacher Sean Salazar spoke out fiercely against the School Committee’s superintendent search process, even exceeding the two-minute time limit to state his opinions. “You have failed your state of purpose through complete disregard for your constituents,” Salazar said. 

Fred Capone, a former city councilor who lost to DeMaria by a narrow margin in the 2021 mayoral election, also spoke out against the Committee’s search, stating that the process has moved much too quickly and covertly, leaving the public and even some Committee members in the dark about potential candidates and finalists.

The meeting went as far as a few people being escorted out of the EHS library due to the outrage demonstrated by the public.

The push for more transparency by Everett residents did not go unnoticed by the Committee and they organized a last-minute special meeting on December 20 with superintendent finalists William Hart and Dr. Kimberly Fricker. The meeting consisted of both candidates getting interviewed about themselves and their experiences navigating the role of superintendent. 

Dr. Fricker is currently the assistant superintendent at Palos Verdes Peninsula District in California and has more than 20 years of experience. Fricker hails from Michigan and moved to California 20 years ago and became a counselor. She also holds a doctorate in educational leadership and administration from the University of Southern California and a masters in counseling psychology from Wayne State University.

Dr. Kimberly Fricker (left), one of the EPS superintendent finalists, responds to a question from School Committee member Millie J. Cardello (right). (Screenshot from meeting broadcast on Facebook)

“The most important thing is getting to know your community,” said Fricker when asked by committee member Millie Cardello about how she plans to aid the community. “The more you believe in them, the more they will be infused with confidence.” 

School Committee member Samantha Lambert asked Fricker how she sees her skills matching with community feedback. “They want someone who is going to respect all facets of the community with honesty and integrity. I think the community wants confidence in knowing things could be done, whether it’s easy or hard to talk about,” Fricker responded.

After giving Dr. Fricker a chance to answer questions and explain more of her background, the Committee entered a brief recess. 

EPS Interim Superintendent William Hart took the stand after the recess with a prepared speech before answering questions from the School Committee. 

“We do this with the understanding that what we are doing today might be better than what was done yesterday, but isn’t as good as what we could be doing tomorrow,” said Hart. “The absence of an ideal situation should not quell our hopes of making something better.”

William D. Hart answers interview questions before being appointed as new superintendent. (Screenshot from meeting broadcast on Facebook.)

“Our schools are strong, well-built and well-staffed. I don’t want to lose the momentum we have with good leadership and good support,” said Hart, explaining what he learned during his time as interim superintendent. “We have wonderfully committed parents and friends that are helping us do the work everyday.”

Hart served as Chief Executive Officer for Massachusetts Community Colleges for 10 years and was previously a faculty member at Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown. Hart also went to Merrimack University and Northeastern University and studied for a doctorate degree in education. 

After Hart’s interview, Chairman Mangan concluded the interview process and Committee member Michael McLaughlin made a motion to open votes for superintendent which was seconded by another member, Cynthia Sarnie.

Samantha Lambert asked for time to deliberate and reschedule the vote because of how rushed the search process was and proceeded to ask for more clarity on behalf of the public as well as the Committee.

Some members did not feel the same way, however. Mayor DeMaria stated that he felt offended by the comments made about the search process being rushed. He said he believed that the Committee did their best to take the public’s opinion into consideration and congratulated the Committee on getting the search done.

The motion was passed 8-0 and on December 20, William D. Hart became the new superintendent of Everett Public Schools.

 

 

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Victoria Macao, Reporter
Victoria Mação  (she/her) has high expectations for her long-awaited senior year and amazing plans for the brilliant future ahead of her. Mação  is an athlete (track runner/soccer player), a history lover, a straight “A” student with the longest list of possible colleges to attend that you will ever see, and is a complete dreamer girl. One good way to briefly describe Mação  is by mentioning her cool outfits, great hair, and absolute passion for aesthetic video making. With this being Mação's first year as a reporter for The Crimson Times, she is really looking forward to brainstorming and writing amazing stories for our school newspaper.

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