Dedham school superintendent decision due Wednesday

Marblehead Assistant Superintendent Nan Murphy is expected to learn whether she will be offered the position of superintendent of schools in Dedham at a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

The agenda for the Dedham School Committee’s meeting now lists as one of its first items “Superintendent Candidate Deliberation and Vote.”

Murphy is one of five finalists who visited Dedham between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12. Those visits culminated with public interviews, which may be viewed here.

Marblehead Assistant Superintendent Nan Murphy. COURTESY PHOTO / VIA NAN MURPHY’S TWITTER

Dedham is seeking to replace Superintendent Michael Welch, who retired at the end of 2022. The district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessment, Ian Kelly, is serving as interim superintendent through June 2023 but is not one of the five finalists.

In addition to Murphy, the other four finalists are Marlene DiLeo, current superintendent of Ware Public Schools; Renee McCall, currently assistant superintendent of the Newton Public Schools; Armand Pires, current superintendent of the Medway Public Schools; and June Saba-Maguire, current assistant superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools.

Murphy had also been a finalist for the superintendent position in Milton, though its School Committee on Jan. 6 voted to offer the position to one of its other three finalists, Peter Burrows, superintendent of the Addison Central School District in Middlebury, Vermont.

Initially, the Dedham School Committee laid out a timeline where it would not make a final decision on its next superintendent until “late February or March,” though news that the board had decided to accelerate its search is not surprising.

School officials in other communities, including Danvers, which offered its superintendent position to Marblehead High School Principal Dan Bauer on Jan. 9, have discussed how competitive the market for top school administrators is and how any delay might risk losing a desired candidate to a district that moves more expeditiously.

After spending a year working for the Department of Education, Murphy arrived in Marblehead in the summer of 2020, hired by then incoming Superintendent John Buckey and former interim Superintendent William McAlduff.

Prior to working at the Department of Education, Murphy spent eight and a half years in Lowell, the first six and a half years as principal of the McAuliffe School. Under Murphy’s leadership, the school made strong academic gains, transitioning from being an urban “high needs level 3” school to “level 1” in just three years. 

She then went on to become the district’s director of accountability and school improvement.

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