Three months into her first term, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has been tasked with finding a permanent leader to take over atop the city's public schools at the same time that she is engaged in the process of appointing the Boston Police Department's next commissioner.
To that end, Wu and School Committee Chair Jeri Robinson announced Thursday there will be a 9-person search committee and collaborative process for selecting the new Boston Public Schools Superintendent in time for the next school year.
Thursday's announcement follows the "mutual decision" reached last month that Superintendent Brenda Cassellius would step down at the end of the school year, Wu said. No further reasoning has been given for Cassellius' departure.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
The search committee -- which includes representation of BPS students, parents, teachers, school leaders, and community members -- will focus first on gathering community feedback that will inform an accelerated process, Wu said.
“As mayor I’m ready to use every platform and resource to ensure our young people will be a priority across every sector and institution in the city,” Wu said in a statement. “To meet the urgency and potential across BPS, we must not only choose a Superintendent who can build a long-lasting legacy, but also empower school communities and invest in a leadership team ready to collectively tackle our challenges and opportunities.”
Robinson said a collaborative and transparent search process with the community is "of the utmost importance to restore a sense of trust and unity between the school district and its constituents."
"By centering the voices of BPS families and students, external partners and stakeholders and the City of Boston at large, we will help ensure this critical decision is mutually beneficial as we seek to stabilize district leadership for the continued advancement and wellbeing of our BPS community,” Robinson added.
The members of the search committee are:
- Pam Eddinger, President of Bunker Hill Community College
- Roxi Harvey, Chair of the BPS Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SpEdPAC)
- Lorena Lopera, Member of the Boston School Committee
- Marcus McNeill, Student at Fenway High School
- Michael O’Neill, Vice Chair of the Boston School Committee
- Dr. Carline Pignato, Head of School at Channing Elementary School
- Gene Roundtree, Secondary School Superintendent at Boston Public Schools
- Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teachers Union
- José Valenzuela, Teacher at Boston Latin Academy
The search committee will host a series of public listening sessions starting in March to gather community input to shape the superintendent’s job description and inform the interview and selection process.
Wu said the listening sessions will include both weekday and weekend times to be as accessible as possible to Boston residents with different schedules.
The listening sessions will take place on:
- Wednesday, March 9, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Public listening session
- Tuesday, March 15, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Public listening session for Spanish speakers
- Thursday, March 24, 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Student listening session
- Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Public listening session
The meetings -- which will be held on Zoom -- will be recorded and posted online following the conclusion of each meeting.
The public can also submit written testimony via email to the Boston School Committee at email@example.com. Additionally, the city will post an online survey for community members to provide written input to inform the search and selection process. That should be online in the coming days, Wu said.
Last week the district posted a Request for Proposals to select a search firm to help manage the process to hire a new superintendent. Search firms have until March 18 to respond, before the school committee selects a firm by early April.
Search committee members will review applications and interview candidates in executive session to preserve the confidentiality of the applicants and equity in the search process, Wu said.
The final candidates will be announced by early June, and interviews for the finalists will be conducted publicly in early- to mid-June, the mayor added. The search committee will make a recommendation to the school committee, which will then vote on whom to extend to the offer of the superintendent position.
More information on the superintendent search, including registration links to public listening sessions, can be found here.
Thursday's announcement also comes one day after the Boston Public School Committee was expected to sign a separation agreement to give Cassellius at least $311,000, according to the Boston Herald.