Administrative changes coming to county schools


PITTSFIELD -- As the academic year begins to wind down in Berkshire County, local schools and colleges will start to see personnel shifts as at least a dozen positions will be changing hands in both leadership and administration.

On Friday, Jason McCandless, superintendent of the Lee Public Schools, notified parents that Middle and High School Principal Kerry Burke will start the 2012-2013 school year as the district’s curriculum director. She will be replaced by Vice Principal Joseph Turmel.

Lee is also looking to appoint a new dean of students from among current staff and is a few weeks away from naming a permanent director for special education.

"Change in executive personnel is a tough place to make substantive, positive change. In terms of the roundtable, we’re almost at a full turnover," said McCandless, who is finishing his eighth year as Lee’s superintendent and his second year chairing the Berkshire County Superintendents Roundtable leadership group.

"There’s really been a lot of research in the past few years about the importance of stability," McCandless said. "Having the absolute best superintendent may not be the best compared to having someone stick around for a longer period of time and be accountable for decisions made in the district."

In the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District, retiring superintendent Alfred Skrocki plans to stay on until Oct. 1 to see the conclusion of a massive new school building construction project. He has served as district superintendent for 13 years.

Kristen Gordon, the principal at C.T. Plunkett Elementary School, will replace Skrocki as the district’s interim superintendent as of Nov. 1. Mean while, a search committee is working to find a replacement for Hoosac Valley High School Principal Henry Duval. Duval is seeking one of the two new assistant principal positions that will be offered when the district’s new middle and high school building goes into operation.

"We’re rewriting duties and responsibilities as education reform calls for," Skrocki said.

Both Skrocki and Mc Candless agree that state and federal educational initiatives, along with other guidelines and requirements, add to a school administrator’s already demanding workload.

Shifts in leadership can also affect a smooth transition, McCandless said.

"Change in the superintendent’s chair plays out in terms of expense of doing a search, but the change in general can rock the world of the principals, which in turn can affect teachers, which affects kids," he said.

Berkshire County is not alone in seeing several positions change. The Massa chusetts Association of School Com mittees is assisting with six administrative searches around the state and completed 14 in the past year. Locally, McCandless hopes that groups like the Berkshire County Superintendents Round table can offer support to new superintendents and other administrators.

Other schools looking at administrative personnel changes include:

McCann Technical High School, where principal Kathleen Millard will retire in August; and the Pittsfield Public Schools, where both Super intendent Howard "Jake" Eberwein III and Deputy Superintendent Barbara Malkas are departing. At Wahconah Regional High School, Aaron Robb will replace Martin Phillips as the school’s assistant principal. Mount Greylock Regional High School recently launched a search to replace Principal Timothy Payne.

In the Shaker Mountain School Union, newcomer Barbara Ripa will become assistant superintendent for Richmond Consolidated School where Principal Karin Deyo currently serves as interim superintendent. But when Hancock Elementary School Superintendent William Ballen retires, Ripa will become the superintendent for the entire school union July 1, while Deyo will return to her full-time role as principal.

Next year, the Southern Berkshire Regional School District will be looking for a new superintendent to replace Michael Singleton who plans to retire in August 2013.

Among the county’s independent schools, Miss Hall’s will hold a send-off party today for longtime head of school Jeannie Norris, who will officially retire in June.

On Tuesday, the Berkshire Community College’s Board of Trustees will make an official recommendation for the institution’s next president.

School position shifts


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Alfred Skrocki, superintendent, Adams-Cheshire Regional School District

Howard "Jake" Eberwein III, superintendent, Pittsfield Public Schools

William Ballen, superintendent, Shaker Mountain School Union

Barbara Malkas, deputy superintendent, Pittsfield Public Schools

Jeannie Norris, head of Miss Hall’s School

Kathleen Millard, principal, McCann Technical School

Timothy Payne, principal, Mount Greylock Regional High School

Martin Phillips, assistant principal, Wahconah Regional High School

In-district moves

Henry Duval, principal, Hoosac Valley High School; seeks co-assistant principal position at new middle and high school building.

Kerry Burke, principal, Lee Middle and High School will become curriculum coordinator for Lee Public Schools.

Karin Deyo, interim superintendent and principal of Richmond Consolidated School, will shed interim role.

Aaron Robb, teacher, Wahconah Regional High School, will become assistant principal.

Kristen Gordon, principal, C.T. Plunkett Elementary School, will become interim superintendent of Adams-Cheshire Regional School District.


Barbara Ripa, superintendent, Shaker Mountain School Union.

Margaret Jablonski, head of Miss Hall’s School.

A new co-assistant principal for the new middle high school of Adams-Cheshire Regional School District,

New special education director at the Lee Public Schools.

A new president at Berkshire Community College.


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