By Sue Ellen Woodcock
The School Committee began interviewing candidates for the Interim Superintendent post to fill in between the time Superintendent of Schools John Macero leaves in June and a new superintendent who will be selected begins in 2018.
The school committee on Monday night interviewed internal candidates, Curriculum Director Frank Woods and Cummings School Principal Ryan Heraty, and the committee will interview outside candidates on May 15 and May 22.
Both candidates answered mostly the same questions about budgets, bargaining, working relationships, special education, class size and curriculum.
Woods has worked in the Winthrop School District as the curriculum director for the last two and a half years. Prior to that he was the STEM Director for the Saugus Public Schools, where he was also vice president of the Saugus Teacher Union.
Woods said he is in a position to step into the interim position and keep the district moving. His current position in the schools will be eliminated in the FY18 budget and he is truly seeking an interim position. He does not intend to apply for the permanent superintendent position.
“I know the people and the Town. I bring continuity,” he said, adding that he considers Macero his mentor. The two have known each other for 25 years and have worked through three budget seasons.
Heraty said the position of superintendent is a critical one in the district and not one he would take lightly.
He also said he feels uniquely positioned for the job with his education and experience. Heraty has been an paraprofessional, elementary school teacher, a middle school teacher and a high school teacher. He holds a master’s degree in special education and an undergrad degree in business. Heraty is noted to have brought in an improved math program and launching a successful writer’s workshop program for students at the Cummings School.
“It’s changed the writing in our school,” Heraty said.
When asked about his leadership and communication style, Heraty said when he first came to the Cummings School he was faced with the loss of a student.
“As a leader I had to bring people together,” Heraty said. “It was a really tough time.”
Heraty also noted that 40 percent of the school district is economically disadvantaged and a lot of parents are working two and three jobs.
School Committee member William Holden asked Heraty about his youth.
“One thing is obvious, it’s not a concern, but I’m sure everyone we interview is much older than you,” Holden said.
“My track record speaks for itself,” Heraty said, adding he would surround himself with people who know and create a support system.”