Lisa Howard, a teacher and administrator in the Winthrop School system for 23 years, is leaving her position as assistant superintendent of schools/pupil personnel director to become the pupil personnel director for the Saugus school department.
“Miss Howard will be leaving us on September 3, much to our sadness for the Winthrop public schools,” Superintendent of Schools John Macero announced at the School Committee meeting Monday.
Macero praised Howard’s service to the school department.
“I thank Miss Howard for the work that she has done for the Winthrop public schools and the effort that she has put in and the time and commitment. We are at a Level 1 special education program. We have continued to be a Level 1 special education program under her direction.”
Macero said he was “personally heartbroken” by the news of Howard’s departure, “But in the end when I talk to all of my employees, they need to do what’s best for them and I respect her decision and what she is doing. I certainly will miss her and cherish the work that she has done for us.”
School Committee member Maryalice Sharkey also lauded Howard for her record of service to the town.
“I would like thank Lisa Howard very greatly and very strongly for all the good work that she has done for Winthrop public schools for the past 23 years,” said Sharkey. “Her No. 1 issue has always been the care of children and giving children the best education that could possibly be obtained.”
School Committee member Todd Sacco, who voted against a pay adjustment for Howard from $106,000 to $120,000 at the May 23 meeting in recognition of her additional duties as assistant superintendent, said in an interview he was surprised by Howard’s decision to leave the Winthrop school system.
“I’m a little surprised – frankly it’s a hit for us,” said Sacco. “Aside from anything that may be swirling about in Winthrop rumor world, by all counts, Lisa ran a great department. We’re a Level 1 district for special education. We lost a good employee.”
As a result of her superior work in the field of special education and the school system’s attainment of a level of excellence that was recognized statewide, Howard was pursued by Saugus school officials for the position of pupil personnel director. She will receive a salary approximate to what she would have earned in Winthrop.
Howard felt the time was right for a change in her career.
“After a lot of personal reflection, I came to the conclusion that my time in Winthrop was up and it was time or me to go and utilize my skills in a different community – and it was in the best interest of myself and my family,” said Howard. “I do want it to be clear that I was thankful for the contract that Winthrop had offered me and that’s the reason that I signed it.”
Howard, who will be paid a salary in Saugus approximate to the salary she was earning in Winthrop, chose not to speak at the School Committee meeting but did release the following statement Tuesday:
“I want to thank all of the teachers, ESPs, therapists, nurses, crossing guards, counselors, principals, athletic directors, bus drivers, community members, superintendents past and present, parents and children that I’ve worked with over the past 23 years.
“I wish Winthrop the best and remind the people to embrace the fact that Winthrop has the most dedicated, nurturing and talented professionals in the field. I’m proud of Winthrop. It’s a special place and I will truly miss it.”
Macero said he will not be filling the position of assistant superintendent of schools at this time but will be seeking candidates for the position of interim pupil personnel director.