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SCHOOLS: Hand of New Superintendent Seen In New Hires & Staff Changes

When Groton-Dunstable School District's new Superintendent Kristan Rodriguez officially takes her post in July, she will have a new and, some might say, streamlined administrative team ready to tackle the challenges posed by past poor fiscal management. Those challenges include maintenance of academic programs and class size and better efficiencies within Special Education. Rodriguez was picked by the School Committee last winter to take over leadership of the School District which has not had a permanent Superintendent since the departure of Joseph Mastracola two years ago.

While Rodriguez does not officially begin her duties untill July, she has been in the district to observe and learn its problems and strengths and the personnel involved. While she has not made any decisions in regards to personnel, she stays in contact with School Committee members and Interim Superintendent Anthony Bent and her input is sought in the decisions made by the School Committee. In the past two months, the School Committee has eliminated one top level administrative position and will hire two new administrators to lead the departments of Curriculum and Special Education.

Two weeks ago at a meeting on April 24, the School Committee voted 5 to 1 to eliminate the position of Human Resource Director held by Jeanne Mitchell. While the vote was aimed at cost savings, it was also made in the context of efficiencies in the Central Office. In the short term, Mitchell's duties will be absorbed by other administrators including those of the Assistant Superintendent.

In addition to eliminating the Human Resource Director position, the School Committee received notice that the Director of Pupil Personnel Services (Special Education) Camilla Huson was leaving and the Assistant Superintendent Kerry Clery was also leaving.

The School Committee has filled one position - Director of Pupil Personnel Services - by appointing Lyn Snow from Marblehead pubic schools to lead that department. Snow comes to the Groton-Dunstable district at a time when Special Education costs are out of control and those costs were attributed to the district's significant and embarrassing deficits in fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The School Committee has begun the task of replacing Clery who will leave her position at the end of the school year. Clery was instrumental in implementing the Common Core Standards in the Groton-Dunstable School District, a new teacher evaluation tool linked to Common Core Standards and new report cards for students in the elementary schools.

The position of Assistant Superintendent was created last summer and the primary duties are related to curriculum development. The School Committee voted to increase the pay level of the assistant superintendent from $105,000 annually to $120,000. Clery is leaving to take a similar position in another school district.

By the time Rodriguez assumes her responsibilities in July, the School District will have new top administrators in Special Education, as Assistant Superintendent, in Business and Finance and in Technology.

Groton Herald

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