LENOX — Veteran eastern Pennsylvania educator and administrator Marc J. Gosselin has accepted a four-year contract as the new superintendent of the town’s public school district.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gosselin, 43, will start July 1, with a first-year salary of $160,000, followed by unspecified increases thereafter, committee Chairman Robert Vaughan told The Eagle.
He was selected unanimously by the School Committee on Jan. 29.
Second-place finisher Beth Choquette, a North Adams native and Cheshire resident who is an elementary school principal in Northampton, also had impressed School Committee members with a strong interview last week.
Gosselin, a native of Dracut in Eastern Massachusetts, was a finalist for superintendent of the larger Dover-Sherborn school district in Boston’s western suburbs. But, the 15-member joint School Committee and superintendent search committee there failed to reach consensus at a meeting Monday, opting instead to gather more information on Gosselin and another leading choice.
Gosselin and his family visited Lenox last weekend and were impressed favorably by the allure of a small-town lifestyle, Vaughan said. He has promised a long-term commitment to the school district.
During Gosselin’s 20-year career in education, he has held teaching, principal and central office administrative positions in Stroudsburg, Pa., and, for the past six years, at the regional 13,000-student North Penn School District in the Montgomery County suburbs of Philadelphia, consisting of 13 elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school.
Gosselin, in a three-page letter to Vaughan and the town’s superintendent search committee last week, extolled Lenox, writing that the town’s “charm and exceptional cultural amenities are certainly not a secret, evidenced by the vibrant tourism industry that thrives in the town.”
But, he emphasized, “beyond the glitz and glam of posh resorts and Gilded Age estates lies another treasure reserved for those who make Lenox their home. That treasure is one of community.”
He wrote that COVID-19 “has impacted all of us and left us mystified by its uneven effects and unpredictable impact on those we know and love. Living through a pandemic helps refocus and reframe our lives and what is important when considering our mortality and the fleeting nature of time both spent and unspent.”
Recounting kitchen-table discussions with his wife, Elizabeth, Gosselin said, “we realized that we live lives and raise children in a non-inspiring suburban reality, going through the daily rhythms of a busy young family and spending more time dedicated to making a living than living a life. We also recognized how easily one slips into these patterns, and the years quickly fly by.”
“Lenox is a special place that provides a walkable and bike-able community with unique restaurants, interesting shops, gorgeous parks, and artistic venues,” Gosselin wrote. “For us, this is an ideal place to raise our daughters, Emma and Ellie, in a town that offers unparalleled connectivity to all of the features that we believe combine to provide a life well-lived. … For our family, this is about as near-perfect as it gets, a work-life balance that promotes healthy family life and an active lifestyle.”
Acknowledging a desire in Lenox for stability after “a decade of turbulence in the superintendency,” he noted that “with a 1st grader and a 3rd grader, we are looking forward to providing a long-term, stable schooling and social environment for our daughters. We are seeking an opportunity that can be our final stop to avoid disruption for our girls.”
William Cameron, the interim superintendent in Lenox who stepped in after Kimberly Merrick departed 16 months ago for personal reasons, is staying on for the remainder of the school year. He is keen on resuming his retirement from school administration leadership, while remaining as an elected member of the Pittsfield School Committee and chairman of the Berkshire County Education Task Force.
A previous Lenox School Committee effort to select a long-term superintendent ended in March, with a decision not to hire either of the two finalists selected by a search committee.
At that time, Cameron, who already had served as interim since shortly after Merrick’s departure, agreed to remain, pending a new search. He is in his 16th month leading the school district through a tumultuous period since the coronavirus pandemic emerged full force last March.
In his letter and during his Jan. 26 remote interview with the School Committee, Gosselin stressed his commitment to leading a high-performing district with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion. He also signaled his desire for long-term stability and “to remain in the ideal situation until I retire.”
“While the superintendency represents the pinnacle of one’s professional career as an educator, I think of the superintendent’s role not as an end but a beginning,” he stated. “My career desires are to provide leadership as a superintendent and participate as an adjunct professor, writer, embrace a public leadership stance, and advocate for public education in the region, state, and nation.”