Dear School Committee members:
I was very distressed to read that you are considering terminating Dr. Buckey’s service as Superintendent of Marblehead Schools. As a member of the Finance Committee and parent of a recent graduate of Marblehead High School, I have been immensely impressed by Dr. Buckey’s leadership of the school system during a very challenging time and his sincere efforts to build trust and strengthen communication with town officials and the community at large. While the override failed this year, the close collaboration between town officials and school leaders has built a strong foundation for a unified approach to a long-term solution next year. Removing Dr. Buckey now in the midst of this critical moment for Marblehead schools will undermine that effort substantially.
I’m also concerned about what Dr. Buckey’s removal suggests about the review and evaluation process that he just completed. After nothing but successful reviews, including one just a month ago, removing Dr. Buckey now suggests that his removal is not related to his job performance. Why engage in a review process at all if the results do not guide your decisions about his contract and compensation? Turnover of School Committee members does not justify deviating from this practice.
Marblehead schools are at a critical juncture. As you know, substantial and consistent investments are needed to bring staffing levels and programs offered to the standard that we should expect for an exemplary school system. That will only be accomplished by creating community-wide support and consensus for those increased investments. I am confident that the new town leaders and Dr. Buckey’s team have built a strong foundation for developing a comprehensive, long-term plan for the town and school system that can win support from Marblehead voters. Removing him precipitously for no apparent performance-related reason undercuts that momentum and could set the school system back for years. I urge you to reconsider your decision and allow Dr. Buckey to continue to lead the Marblehead schools.