Huckleberry Hill Principal
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — It’s the end of an era at Huckleberry Hill School.
In a surprising turn of events, Huckleberry Hill Principal Melissa Wyland announced on Nov. 14 that she is retiring at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year. She has led Huckleberry Hill School for the past five years.
“After 22 years in education with Lynnfield Public Schools, I have decided to retire at the end of this school year,” Wyland wrote in a letter sent to families. “This is a letter of gratitude to the Huckleberry Hill Elementary School community, as it would be an impossible task for me to personally thank all of the students, families, faculty, staff and community members for their ongoing support and for collaborating with me to make HHS a home away from home for all who enter. I am sincerely honored to have served as principal of Huckleberry Hill Elementary School for the past five years.”
Wyland wrote that she was “proud of (Huckleberry Hill’s) academic achievement, family engagement and school culture.”
“I have truly enjoyed seeing hundreds of children develop and flourish as confident, successful young people,” Wyland stated. “I am very proud of the part I have played in having our Huckleberry Heroes grow academically and social-emotionally.”
Wyland said she is “privileged to have worked with committed educators, involved families, excited learners and a supportive Lynnfield community.”
“I look forward to continuing my relationship with the staff and students over the next year as I work to mentor the next principal of Huckleberry Hill School,” Wyland stated. “Thank you to everyone for the support that you have given me over the years. I look forward to enjoying each moment of this school year with my Huckleberry Hill family. I will bring cherished memories with me as I begin my retirement alongside my husband, children and grandson.”
Wyland elaborated on her decision to retire in an email sent to the Villager.
“After much thought and consideration, I have made the decision to retire at the end of this school year,” said Wyland. “Being the principal of the Huckleberry Hill School has been a dream job. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with such a special group of students, staff and families throughout my career. I look forward to spending the next seven months working alongside the incredibly dedicated and talented staff to make a positive impact on the lives of our Huckleberry Heroes. It has been an honor to work in the Lynnfield district, and I will cherish every moment of the rest of the school year.”
School Committee member Kate DePrizio offered nothing but praise for Wyland in a statement sent to the Villager.
“Melissa Wyland is a once-in-a-lifetime principal,” said DePrizio. “Her indelible mark on students, families and staff will be felt always. Her warmth and natural ability to genuinely connect to students and the community is apparent in all of her interactions. I am always impressed by her leadership and intentionality as she nurtures the growth of the whole child for each and every student who walks through the door. I will miss her deeply as a colleague, PTO member, and parent of three HHS students. With all sincerity, she is the best of us, and I am forever grateful to call her my friend.”
Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Tom Geary agreed.
“Melissa will leave behind an incredible legacy at Huckleberry Hill,” said Geary. “The number of students, staff and families that she has directly and positively impacted cannot be understated. She took such pride each day in being a teacher and then principal at the school, and worked tirelessly to create a welcoming and family-like atmosphere. I’ll miss her dearly as a colleague, and as a parent of two former Huckleberry Hill students, I am so grateful for her years of leadership and guidance. She’s quite simply an amazing educator, mentor and friend.”
Retired Superintendent Jane Tremblay appointed Wyland as Huckleberry Hill’s interim principal for the 2019-2020 school year in May 2019. Wyland, who previously taught first grade, succeeded former Principal Brian Bemiss, who left Huckleberry Hill in June 2019 after agreeing to become the next principal of Fisher Elementary School in Walpole.
After receiving rave reviews from both parents and educators, Wyland was appointed as Huckleberry Hill’s permanent leader in November 2019. While parents and educators were given an opportunity to ask Wyland questions during her public interview in the all-purpose room, none of them did. Instead, all of the attendees sung Wyland’s praises.
“The reason why the room is not packed is because everyone believes this is a no brainer,” said Lantern Lane resident Anne Glynn.
Finance Committee Chair Chris Mattia also attended the interview. The former Huckleberry Hill PTO co-president congratulated Wyland in a Facebook post after Tremblay appointed her as Huckleberry Hill’s principal.
“The entire Huckleberry Hill School community — the students, parents and teachers — are so incredibly lucky to have Mrs. Wyland be appointed permanent principal at HHS,” Mattia stated. “Congratulations.”
Administrator departures continue
Wyland’s retirement at the end of June will make her the seventh administrator to leave Lynnfield Public Schools over the last three academic years.
Longtime Lynnfield High Principal Bob Cleary retired this past June after leading LHS for 15 years. He also served as the high school’s assistant principal for six years.
Former Assistant Principal Brian Bates resigned from Lynnfield High School on the last day of the 2022-2023 academic year after agreeing to become a house principal at Malden High School. He was LHS’ assistant principal for seven years.
Tom Sallee departed as Lynnfield Middle School’s assistant principal at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year after agreeing to become Stoneham Central Middle School’s next principal. He served as LMS’ assistant principal for six years.
Former Summer Street School Principal Dr. Karen Dwyer resigned before the start of the 2021-2023 academic year after being appointed as Uxbridge Public Schools’ assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Dwyer led Summer Street School for three years.
In addition to the three principals and two assistant principals, two directors have also left the district in the past two years.
Former Lynnfield Community Schools Coordinator Sarah Perkins resigned this past spring after leading the program for three years. She is now working as the interim director of technology integration and digital literacy for Andover Public Schools.
Additionally, former LHS Athletic Director Michael Bierwirth’s contract was not renewed at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. He now works as Milton High School’s AD.