Final Pittsfield schools chief candidate pledges commitment
PITTSFIELD -- If hired as the city's next school superintendent, Ann Bradshaw is prepared for a lengthy stay in the Pittsfield Public Schools.
Bradshaw, superintendent of the Mashpee Public Schools on Cape Cod, told the School Committee Monday evening she would welcome a six-year contract to start -- twice the traditional three-year-deal from the committee.
"I'm a long-term commitment person," she said. "I've worked in only two school districts in 25 years."
Bradshaw's comments wrapped up 40 minutes of a one-hour interview before the seven-member panel at Pittsfield High School. She was the last of three finalists questioned about possibly becoming Pittsfield's next top educator.
Last week, the school board interviewed Lee Public Schools Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless and William Hart, assistant superintendent for the West Newbury-based, Pentucket Regional School District. They also vowed to make a long-term commitment to the city school system of at least a decade.
The school board expects to vote on making a job offer to one of the finalists at a Feb. 27 meeting. The committee is seeking a successor to Howard "Jake" Eberwein III, who left the district last June to take a job at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams.
Gordon Noseworthy was hired in June as interim superintendent for a year in order to give the School Committee ample time to find a permanent school boss.
If selected, Bradshaw plans to be invested in the school district and the city at large, just as she has done during her eight years as superintendent in Mashpee.
"I'm in the schools, the supermarket, at games and I volunteer for community events which helps build trust with the community," she said.
While residency isn't a job requirement, it has been an issue for previous city school boards who've hired superintendents hired from outside Berkshire County.
"A school superintendent doesn't have to live in the district, but I want to live here," Bradshaw said.
Pittsfield's next school boss will inherit some unfinished business from Eberwein, most notably plans to create a new or renovated Taconic High School with a revamped vocational-technical education program.
Bradshaw feels students are a key to shaping the future
"Talk to students and find out what they are excited about and what interests them," she said. "[Vocational education] should be a path to achieving student goals."
As for Bradshaw's academic accomplishments in Mashpee, she noted that MCAS scores have improved significantly, more high school graduates have been accepted to college and there has been a reduced need for student discipline.
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