By Ann Needle
After 90 minutes of deliberation at its May 4 meeting, the Nashoba School Committee unanimously chose Brooke Clenchy as the district’s new superintendent. In other news, the SC also alluded to the seemingly unexpected resignation of a senior staff member in the central office.
A former superintendent and currently a senior official at the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Clenchy was selected from among three finalists. Though the district has yet to conduct salary negotiations, Clenchy should begin her term July 1, taking over from Interim Supt. Dr. Curtis Bates. The other two candidates for superintendent were Dr. Patricia Lally, superintendent of the Holbrook School District, and Dr. Jahmal Mosley, an assistant superintendent in the Sharon Public Schools.
Clenchy has served as a senior associate commissioner with MA DESE since 2014. Before that, she held superintendent posts in Ashland and Winchendon, as well as in Maine. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration/Curriculum from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
After a committee of Nashoba parents, residents, staff, and town administrators selected the four semi-finalists a month ago, each was interviewed publicly by the SC, which voted to send all four to the finalist phase. (Shortly after, one candidate withdrew her application.) In the past few weeks SC members visited each candidate’s school/job sites and reviewed details from references.
In summarizing the comments from Clenchy’s references and site visits, several SC members remarked on her “depth of experience,” including years as a teacher before advancing to leadership roles. Rep. Kathy Codianne of Lancaster noted that one person whose car broke down on the way to a site visit for Clenchy called the SC to make sure they could add their enthusiastic support to Nashoba’s search file.
In her review of what she was told about Clenchy, SC Rep. Lynn Colletti of Stow relayed that the former chair of the Winchendon School Committee credited Clenchy with a strong moral compass, and the ability to get things done, such as opening a virtual high school for some at-risk students. With other Committee members agreeing that Clenchy seemed to be a natural mentor to her subordinates, Colletti also mentioned Clenchy’s current co-workers said she “transformed the culture of DESE,” so that her cohorts are excited about working in their department.
While the vote for Clenchy was unanimous, the SC also had high praise for Patricia Lally and Jamal Moseley. “Nobody wanted them to leave,” Colletti commented of the three candidates’ colleagues the Committee members met on site visits. Rep. Mark Jones of Stow added, “We have three marvelous people; I regret that I have to choose.”
New Manager for Food Services
Though Nashoba Director of Food & Nutrition Tom Houle was not mentioned by name, the SC discussed the resignation of the current head of Food Services as of June 30, and what salary to offer potential candidates for the job.
Comparing Houle’s planned $73,716 salary for 2016/17 with those of food services managers at similar school districts, Kathy Codianne called this salary “in the ball park.” The SC voted unanimously to offer candidates for the job a salary range of $69,00 – $74,200-day for a 200-day work year.
Stow Students Recognized
Nashoba Regional High School Principal Dr. Parry Graham announced that Stow Seniors Hannah Stevenson and Jessie Duggan will be the Class of 2016’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Talking about each student’s particular talents, Graham mentioned that Stevenson is thoroughly versed in several languages, with she and her sister recently teaching themselves Gaelic so they could talk to each other privately. Duggan has been a prized Nashoba athlete, a leader on the Emergency Medical Services squad, and a holder of a second-degree black belt in karate, Graham said.
In the fall, Stevenson will attend Hillsdale (MI) College, and Duggan will be a student at Tufts University.
NRHS Seniors and Stow residents Emily Recko and Joseph Tavis were recognized as state representatives at the MA legislature’ s annual Student Government Day. The citation was presented by Rep. Kate Hogan.