Published April 11, 2019


NORTH READING — Superintendent Jon Bernard announced his impending retirement to staff and families on April 4 and 5, respectively.

“My decision to retire is not made lightly, nor is it an easy decision for me. I have made many wonderful friendships over the years; have enjoyed immensely my daily interactions with students and adults as a high school English teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal, and now Superintendent; and have come to respect greatly the important work of all of the many people who have helped to make our school district something of which the entire community can be proud,” Bernard wrote in a letter to parents.

Superintendent of Schools

Bernard first came to the district in 2003 as Principal of North Reading High School, where he served for 11 years before becoming Superintendent on October 18, 2014.

“From my first day of work in North Reading on July 1, 2003, I have not once left my office feeling as though the work I was doing was anything but important, valued, and appreciated. The staff, students, and the community as a whole have been incredibly supportive; I could not have asked for more. The remaining months of my time in North Reading will continue to be dedicated to providing the best possible academic and overall school experience for all students,” Bernard wrote.

Bernard noted that he chose to announce his retirement now in order to “provide sufficient time to achieve a smooth transition in leadership.”

At their April 8 meeting, School Committee members expressed their dismay upon hearing the news.

“Personally, I’m fairly shocked and very saddened by it, but I’m happy for you as a person, happy for you that you’re in good health, and you’ll get to enjoy that,” School Committee Vice Chairman Scott Buckley said.

Committee member Rich McGowan stated that he appreciated the amount of notice Bernard gave to the committee.

“It’s a real gift, I think, for us to be able to undertake a process that is thoughtful and isn’t rushed, so I certainly appreciate that,” McGowan said.

School Committee member Dyana Boutwell joked that she and McGowan hastened Bernard’s retirement with lengthy policy subcommittee meetings.

“My decision to retire is for all of the right reasons, and I feel very blessed to be able to say that. It just seems like the right time,” Bernard told the committee.

Bernard’s retirement will be effective January 1, 2020.