Dahlstedt named vice chair

Published May 5, 2021


LYNNFIELD — The School Committee unanimously voted to appoint Rich Sjoberg as its next chairman on April 27.

Sjoberg succeeds School Committeeman Jamie Hayman as the board’s chairman. He thanked his colleagues for the vote of confidence.

“I’m humbled and honored,” said Sjoberg. “With this responsibility, I promise to bring communication skills that go to the level of connecting, and a consistent and solid level of engagement. I will affirm a collaborative relationship with staff, town leaders and the community as a whole as well as a positive commitment in decision-making as we further the progression of excellence that is education in Lynnfield. I fully recognize that all of us together are smarter than anyone of us alone.”

Sjoberg recalled that he met with retired Superintendent Jane Tremblay five years ago in order to discuss how he could help the School Committee and the district as a whole.

“I very much see this role as my continued opportunity to lead through service and continue to give back to this school district and the town of Lynnfield that has given so much to me and my family,” said Sjoberg. “Taking the reins at this time is made easier by the groundwork laid in response to this past year by the countless hours of preparation spent by Mr. Hayman, Superintendent Kristen Vogel, the entire Administrative Leadership Team, and our incredibly impassioned teachers and staff, who are neck deep in the 2020-2021 school year and have never worked harder for all of us.”

Sjoberg recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic forced the school system to abruptly shift to remote and hybrid learning environments that “forced our dedicated educators into unfamiliar territory.”

“The pandemic has proven time and again that no matter the situation, our educators will rise to the occasion to meet the needs of their students,” said Sjoberg. “The same can be said of Lynnfield parents. In kind, students, parents and guardians have been remarkable, agile, highly flexible, patient and enormously supportive — each of us learning a great deal about ourselves and each other along the way. These solid characteristics and attributes are what allowed us to begin full in-person elementary grade level returns in March and the return of all students in early April.”

While looking back on 2020, Sjoberg said he saw “resilience and passion.”

“And when I look ahead along the path of the fully in-person homestretch of this school year and beyond, I see promise and opportunity,” said Sjoberg. “This School Committee shall continue to focus on every individual as an important individual to provide the highest expectations and opportunities for student achievement, quality instruction and define clear goals toward this vision. I’m convinced that at this time – in this moment – we will take and apply the lessons learned to build a stronger foundational future for our children.”

Sjoberg’s first order of business was nominating School Committee member Stacy Dahlstedt as vice chairwoman. The motion passed unanimously.

“I would like to thank School Committee Chair Sjoberg for appointing me as vice chair,” said Dahlstedt in an email. “I am honored to be serving the committee in this role. When the pandemic began last year, I was only 10 months into the first year of my first term on the School Committee.  The School Committee and the superintendent were working in a crisis management mode, and we were focused on developing and implementing our back-to-school plan, and keeping our students and staff safe. Thankfully, we have started to shift back to more of business as usual. With students learning full-in-person since April 5, we are committed to continuing the business of ensuring the district achieves and exceeds the academic and social and emotional needs of all students.  Additionally, we can move forward with several programs we had started pre-pandemic, which I feel passionate about, including expanding STEM, our world language offerings and financial literacy for our students.

“I am eager and excited to continue to work with my colleagues on the School Committee, Superintendent Vogel, our outstanding team of educators, town administrators and our students and families to ensure we support and challenge all students to meet their full potential as individuals and as citizens of the global community,” Dahlstedt continued. “There is so much wonderful and impactful work to be done, and I am thrilled to be playing a more active role in this.”     

Sjoberg also welcomed newly elected School Committee member Kate DePrizio to the board during last week’s meeting.

“We are honored to have you at the table,” said Sjoberg. “We know that you will do your best for the children of Lynnfield and the staff that we have in this district. I am very excited about working with you.”

DePrizio thanked Sjoberg for the warm welcome.

Hayman, who served as the school board’s chairman for the past three years, recalled that Sjoberg is “super involved” in the community. While Sjoberg stepped down as Huckleberry Hill PTO’s Co-President due to legal and ethical reasons after he was elected to the School Committee, Hayman noted that he continued serving on the Recreation Commission and later joined the Council on Aging Board of Directors.

“Do you see any conflicts with the other boards you are involved with?” Hayman asked.

Sjoberg said no.

“Volunteering is an innate part of my nature,” said Sjoberg. “It is as necessary to me as is breathing. As we look around this table, you tell me of another member on this committee where this honored position is their only volunteer role in town? Not one of us. I am also fortunate not having a strict 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. career. I have said many times that I use 25 hours of each day.”

Hayman thanked Sjoberg, Dahlstedt, School Committee member Phil McQueen and former member Tim Doyle for their support over the last three years, particularly the past 14 months.

“I am very proud of the work that we did during the pandemic,” said Hayman. “We hired and transitioned in a new superintendent and saw the passage of the elementary school expansion project, which was the culmination of three years of hard work. The team stuck together, made difficult decisions and were guided by what was best for our students and staff.”