Amherst superintendent resigns ahead of school year

Superintendent Michael Morris’ departure comes less than two weeks away from the first day of school.
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 6:41 PM EDT
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AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Superintendent Michael Morris’ departure comes less than two weeks away from the first day of school.

It follows a controversial few months for the Amherst-Pelham school district.

It started with a Title IX investigation into gender identity discrimination claims, then three middle school staff members were placed on paid leave, and shortly after that, Dr. Morris took a temporary leave of absence, citing medical reasons.

Then Assistant Superintendent Doreen Cunningham filed a discrimination complaint against the district after she was placed on administrative leave amid the ongoing investigation.

Now, the school district must look for new leadership as they start the new school year.

“This is absolutely difficult. I mean this was going to be a tough start to the school year regardless but that’s going to make it that much for difficult, having questions about leadership, and who going to take that role. I think it adds uncertainty to what’s usually a fairly certain time,” said the Chair of the Amherst-Pelham school committee, Ben Herrington.

Ben Herrington is the district’s school committee chair, he says Dr. Morris felt the latest controversy has made it difficult for him to successfully do his job.

Western Mass News obtained a copy of the Union 26 and School Committee’s separation agreement with Dr. Michael Morris.

According to the letter, Dr. Morris will continue to run the district’s day-to-day operations until the end of the month.

Herrington tells me the school committee will be meeting next week to discuss where they go from here and what the process of finding an interim superintendent will look like.