Chicopee Mayor addresses school superintendent search at Ward 6 meeting
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Chicopee Mayor John Vieau met with community members of Ward 6 at Litwin Elementary School Wednesday night as part of his Spring Neighborhood Meetings, which he started last month to listen to and discuss concerns of residents across the city.
A lot was discussed, including the status of the Silverbrick Apartments, road safety concerns, and the search for a new superintendent for the city’s school district, a topic we have been tracking closely since April when former superintendent Lynn Clark was arrested by the FBI.
Now, Mayor Vieau is asking for the community’s input on what they would like to see in a new superintendent.
“We’re putting a comprehensive panel together to try to figure out who’s going to be our next superintendent,” Mayor Vieau told us.
This comes after FBI agents arrested Lynn Clark at her Belchertown home at the beginning of April for allegedly sending threatening text messages to a candidate for the city’s police chief, causing them to back out of the running, and then allegedly lying about it to federal investigators.
It was later announced that she would no longer serve as the district’s superintendent after she was indicted by a federal grand jury.
Mayor Vieau said Alvin Morton, who was previously the district’s assistant superintendent and has been acting superintendent since Lynn Clark was put on leave, has agreed to serve as the interim superintendent throughout next school year so they have enough time for their search.
“I want to make sure we do it right,” Mayor Vieau said. “It’s a very important position.”
He said that they have contracted with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to serve on the panel, and there will be 5 fresh faces on the school committee who have never been involved in a superintendent search, including himself.
“Some of the things we were looking for in a superintendent is a good communicator, knowledge of Massachusetts curriculum, financial management abilities, people management skills, experience working with unions and union contracts, familiarity with Chicopee issues and programs, appropriate education degree and level,” Mayor Vieau said. “Oh, that was a new one – that you actually like children.”
There was some back and forth talk about whether they want to expand the search to a national level or keep it regional, but that is still up for debate.
Meanwhile, Lynn Clark still pleads not guilty in connection to those charges of making false statements to the FBI. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison for each false statement made and a fine of up to $10,000.
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