William Cameron believes he'll leave a much-improved Central Berkshire Regional School District (CBRSD) behind when he retires in June after three years at the helm as superintendent.
Cameron, 66, took the top spot at CBRSD in 2011, and recently told the district School Committee that he plans to retire at the end of this school year.
"There are many things I would like to do in life that I have put off or ignored because of the press of business as a school administrator," Cameron said in an email to The Eagle. "Education is an end in itself. I plan to become better educated."
Cameron highlighted some major improvements he felt he, School Committee members and district educators were able to institute during his tenure at the six-school, seven-town district in the heart of the county.
A Parent-Child Home Program was introduced, geared at enhancing school readiness for 2- and 3-year olds.
Two district schools -- Becket-Washington Elementary School and Berkshire Trail Elementary School -- became "innovation schools" two years ago. Part of Gov. Deval Patrick's public education overhaul, innovation schools govern themselves by a school-based board, like charter schools, but report to the district's superintendent and school committee.
Social work and mental health services were expanded in the district and its begun rolling out a comprehensive K-12 health program.
Additionally, Cameron feels the district is prepared to implement the new public school educator evaluation system that's being pushed nationwide as a part of 2009's Race to the Top legislation.
Shawn Armacost, chairman of the CBRSD School Committee, said he and fellow members knew Cameron might decide to retire with the expiration of his contract at the close of this year.
"I think most (School Committee members) wished he would stay on and hoped we could renew his contract in some terms," Armacost said. "We're all very pleased with (Cameron's) performance.
"I'm grateful to have known him and worked with him."
But, with Cameron's notice coming so early in the school year, committee members have comfortable room to find his successor, which they hope to do by May, Armacost said.
The district already organized a superintendent search committee consisting of 11 members, which convened for its first meeting Wednesday night.
"Last time we (had to hire a new superintendent) we started in late January; this time we have a three-month leg up to get going," Armitage said.
The committee will advertise the position statewide at a salary range of $120,000 to $150,000.
Meanwhile, Cameron had some advice for his successor and Berkshire educators generally.
"Central Berkshire's top priority in the coming years should be what every other Berkshire County district's top priority should be: Developing and executing a long-range plan for maintaining and improving the quality of our schools as populations shrink, enrollments decline and financial resources stagnate."
He added, "Many recognize this fact but to date the county's school district administrators, elected officials at all levels, business leaders and active members of the community at large have not acted effectively, on a countywide basis, to begin solving this county wide problem."
Cameron's retirement concludes a 39-year career in public education. At one time or another throughout this span, Cameron filled the roles of teacher, administrator, school committee member and school attorney.
Some of Cameron's prior positions include assistant superintendent for personnel in his native city of Pittsfield, attorney in New York for Rensselaer-Columbia-Green Counties Board of Cooperative Educational Services and superintendent of schools in Salem.
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