LETTER: New board’s quick decision on superintendent makes no sense

Editor’s note: This statement was prepared to be read during the public comment period at the July 26 School Committee meeting, which Chair Sarah Fox adjourned after one minute on the advice of counsel.

To the editor:

Anyone paying attention to town politics will know that our new select board has spent many hours deliberating about timing of their volunteer committee appointments. The discussion is around whether it makes sense for appointments to occur shortly after an election or whether it’s better to have the (possibly outgoing) board appoint because they have worked with said committees and therefore understand the inner working of the positions. It makes sense that perhaps newly seated board members might not be prepared to make such important personnel decisions so early in their time on the board.

And yet our new School Committee is comfortable voting on the possible termination of our district leader just five weeks after being sworn in?

Clearly, among you there are axes to grind. But I’d like to point out that the axes you grind here won’t ultimately fall on the head of John Buckey. I’m confident any hiring committee worth their salt will meet Dr. Buckey and be impressed by his considerable achievements and accolades. And after a quick Google search and a look at his resume they’ll say, “Oh, Marblehead. Now, we understand.”

No, in fact your axes will fall on our administrators and principals. Specifically and problematically on Michelle Cresta… and on Julia Ferreira and Michelle Carlson, each now asked to move forward in critical district leadership roles without the guidance of the superintendent who supported and hired them, if with any superintendent at all.

And these axes you grind fall on our teachers… who have asked for district stability time and time again. They’ve steered us through COVID, continued to purchase classroom supplies from their own pockets and recently lost colleagues to layoffs after two failed overrides.

And if this committee is brazen enough to bring forward another override attempt in 2024? With an interim super at the helm, you undoubtedly guarantee its failure for yet another year or more.

I would ask if, after tonight’s vote, you feel you can say you’ve done the right thing for the parents, teachers and the students you claim to support. Can you say “yes, we know better” while looking them in the eyes?

You chose to hold this meeting on Zoom. I think we have our answer.

Cindy Schieffer
Beach Street

Letter to the editor
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