By Cary Shuman
Winthrop resident John Macero has been selected as the new superintendent of the Winthrop Public Schools.
The Winthrop School Committee voted by a 5-2 margin to elect Macero to the position at its meeting on April 7. School Committee members William Holden, Melissa Polino, Mark Rotondo, Todd Sacco, and Jeffrey Turco voted for Macero on the first ballot while Chairperson Mary Lou Osborne and member Brian Perrin initially voted for Swampscott school administrator Maureen Bingham before the committee gave its unanimous support to Macero.
Macero will officially take office on July 1 pending the completion of negotiations of his contract. He would succeed Dr. Joseph Lisi, who has been the interim superintendent following Dr. Steve Jenkins’ decision to step down in December.
A search committee, led by School Committee member William Holden, had recommended Macero, principal of the A.C. Whelan Elementary School in Revere, as one of four finalists out of an original pool of 14 candidates.
“I am personally thrilled and honored to be selected,” said Macero, a member of the town’s Citizens Committee on Finance, and a former member of the Winthrop School Committee.
Mary Lou Osborne, chairperson of the seven-member Winthrop School Committee, said she and Holden conducted a site visit at the Whelan School on April 4 and met with Revere school officials, administrators, teachers, parents, and current and former students.
“People from each group spoke of Mr. Macero’s ability to work collaboratively with others and a great ability to adapt to a new environment,” said Osborne. “They had lots of praise for his willingness to jump into a new challenge right away as the new principal when he volunteered to apply for an expanded-day planning grant for his school.
Osborne said Revere officials praised his work ethic at the school.
“A mantra in Revere public schools is ‘All Kids Can (Learn)’ and Mr. Macero harnesses all resources available to improve all student outcomes,” said Osborne. “Mr. Macero comes into school early and on the weekends. He’s considered to be able to think on his feet, see the big picture as well as the fine details. He is a positive person who gets people on board even in difficult circumstances.”
Macero’s establishment of an instrumental music program in Revere drew praise from Winthrop committee members.
The 48-year-old Macero began his career in education 20 years ago as an English and drama teacher at Everett High School. He was elected to the Saugus School Committee at the age of 23.
Macero worked at the Boston University School for the Arts for four years before accepting an elementary music teaching position in the Saugus school system. At that time, he created an elementary school band. He also served as president of the Saugus teachers’ union for three years.
He eventually became the fine arts director for the entire Saugus school system and in 2004 he was named principal of the Lynnhurst Elementary School in Saugus. He became principal of the Whelan School in 2006.
Macero said prior to applying for the Winthrop superintendent’s position he conversed with his wife, Trudy, owner of the Winthrop School for Performing Arts.
“My wife and I had discussed it and we thought it was a good opportunity,” said Macero. “I felt that I was ready to be a superintendent. From serving as president of a teachers’ union, being a member of two school committees (Saugus and Winthrop), being an elementary principal for seven years, being a fine arts director for 12 years, I felt I was ready for the next step and where better but to have an opportunity to come home and do it in Winthrop because I worked right next door in Revere.”
Macero received praised for his tenure at the Whelan School from Revere officials, including Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Dakin and former Superintendent Carol Tye, who called Council President Jeffrey Turco to offer a strong recommendation of his candidacy for the Winthrop job.
Macero is a Class of 1981 graduate of Saugus High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston University and a Master’s degree from Cambridge College.
He said the first thing he’ll do as Winthrop superintendent is “meet with all the parties that are involved – teachers, parents, students, community members.”
“I want to build more partnerships for the school system – I think that’s important,” he said. “I want to people to feel proud of Winthrop schools. We have four schools in Winthrop and I believe those four schools can be the best in the state if we all work toward that. I’m a collaborative leader. I want to bring everyone together and I believe my past record has shown that I’ve done that. And I hope that I can bring all parties together for the betterment of our students.”
Macero specifically hailed the contributions of the Viking Pride organization to the town and its schools.
“Viking Pride is a great organization,” said Macero. “It has saved us in various areas for so many years. They’re a great partnership that we need to reach out to more.”
Macero said he will begin the task of improving Winthrop students’ MCAS test scores.
“I want to build our test scores back up,” said Macero. “The scores have been declining and we need to improve those scores. That’s an immediate goal. And I will not use funding as an excuse of why we can’t improve those scores.”
Macero is leaning toward the construction of a brand new school for grades 7-12 as opposed to paying for extensive renovations at the high school and middle school.
“What I’m hearing is that in order to renovate the high school and then possibly the middle school – it may be cheaper to take a look at just building a brand new middle-high school,” said Macero. “It’s something that we really need to look at and do.”
Winthrop school parents and students can likely expect the art, instrumental music, and drama fields to get a significant boost from the Macero administration. Macero, a former member of the Winthrop Playmakers who drew outstanding reviews for his acting performance in the professional production of “Hairspray” last year at the Reagle Theatre in Waltham, said those areas of study are “important” to the educational experience of Winthrop students.