School Committee Deserves Credit for Interim Superintendent Process

The Winthrop School Committee conducted a thorough and transparent selection process for the Interim Superintendent of Schools position, ultimately appointing Lisa Howard at its meeting Monday night.

The final two candidates were interviewed at the meeting prior to the vote. School Committee Chair Dawn Sullivan then allowed all members of the committee to express their opinion about each of the candidates one-by-one, a refreshing change from the usual process of just conducting one final vote. We’re sure the candidates themselves appreciated the open forum and the members’ constructive comments that they can use to improve their chances for future administrative positions.

The committee also engaged in an interesting discussion about the philosophy of whether the district would best be served in an interim capacity by someone who has worked in the district, or a retired administrator who would work until the committee decided to appoint a permanent superintendent, or an “external” candidate who would be a newcomer to the Winthrop school system.

We agree 100 percent with the committee’s decision to appoint Lisa Howard as the Interim Superintendent. Committee members Ron Vecchia and Brian Perrin’s assertion that Lisa “can hit the ground running” and carry on the momentum and positive direction of the school system under current superintendent John Macero is right on the mark.  Lisa is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the school system, beginning with her own experience as one of Winthrop’s all-time great scholar-athletes (who helped the Vikings win a state softball title). According to John Macero, Lisa excelled in her previous role as an Assistant Superintendent and her experience as an administrator of the Special Education program in the town will be invaluable as she now leads the entire school system.

Most recently, Lisa has watched her daughter, Gretchen Howard, develop into an outstanding student-athlete who overcame adversity along the way — displaying the Gill-Howard competitiveness that has characterized her own brilliant academic and professional career. The Gill family has contributed so much to this town already and now Lisa has been called upon by town leaders to continue the successes of our school system that has benefited so much by the opening of the new Winthrop Middle/High school last year.

We can only imagine how proud Peter Gill — the former Town Council President — and his wife, Maureen, are of their daughter who is returning to Winthrop in the prestigious post of Interim Superintendent of Schools.

We commend the Winthrop School Committee for overseeing a fair and comprehensive selection process and laud the appointment of Lisa Howard, whom we believe will do a tremendous job. We know that the members of the School Committee, the administrators, teachers, staff, and parents, will unite behind Lisa’s leadership and reach the goal of giving our schoolchildren the most productive educational experience possible each and every day.

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