Becket gets new town administrator

New Town Administrator William Caldwell sits in a meeting room at Becket Town Hall. He started the new post on Jan. 28.

BECKET — Becket has a new permanent leader after nearly a year with one on loan.

William Caldwell, 29, started working as the town administrator on Monday. Caldwell left his teaching post at Athol High School for Becket's top job, which he said will give him a chance to jump into the town administrator world.

"It's something I'd been looking at doing," said Caldwell, who also serves as a Select Board member for the town of Athol. "It's just a matter of pulling the trigger and doing it."

Caldwell replaces Bob Markel, the former Springfield mayor who sat at the town's helm since Ed Gibson left the job about a year ago. Gibson became the town administrator of Southampton.

Caldwell taught for more than five years at the high school, also serving as a union leader since last May. He has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, he said, and is currently working toward a doctorate degree in public administration, public service and history.

"I have high hopes that he's going to hit the ground running, so to speak," said Select Board member Michael Lavery.

Caldwell said he originally set his sights on educational administration so that he could serve a larger school community. "I thought I could help a bigger population of teachers and students," he said.

He thought he'd like to switch into public administration work, but "it happened sooner than I expected."

One culture shock he's already feeling lies in the sometimes spontaneous nature of local government — in education, things are planned out months ahead of time. Right now, Caldwell said he's diving into the duties of budget planning.

Meantime, he said he'll busy himself getting around town and meeting people.

"But that's the easy part," he said, smiling.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.