Published in the January 24, 2018 edition


WAKEFIELD — School Committee members last night finalized the approach that they will take in seeking a successor to Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith, who has announced her intention to retire on June 30, 2018. They voted to accept the Labor Relations Subcommittee’s recommendation and go with a local screening committee made up of stakeholders from the educational community and the community at large.

They also expanded on the Labor Relations Subcommittee’s recommendation with respect to the number and composition of the screening committee.

Two weeks ago, the subcommittee had recommended a nine member screening committee. Last night, the School Committee expanded the screening committee to 15, based on input it had received.

The superintendent screening committee will be comprised as follows: Chair of Labor Relations Subcommittee to serve as Screening Committee Chair; two representatives of the Wakefield Education Association, Unit A, selected by its president; one representative of the Wakefield Education Association, Unit B, selected by its president; one representative of the Wakefield Paraprofessionals Association, Unit C, selected by its president; one representative of the elementary school principals, selected by the elementary school principals; The Galvin Middle School principal; one representative of the central office staff selected by them (excluding the School Business Administrator, who may be called upon by the School Committee to support its discussions); one elementary school parent representative selected by a joint meeting of the elementary school PTOs; one middle school parent representative selected by a meeting of the middle school PTO; one high school parent representative selected by either the PTSA or high school principal; one representative from the Wakefield Educational Foundation, selected by the Wakefield Educational Foundation; one representative from Wakefield Special Education Parent Advisory Council, to be selected by Wakefield SEPAC; one community-at-large representative selected by blind drawing of eligible names submitted to the School Committee; one representatives of Town Government selected by the Town Administrator. (This representative be the Town Administrator.)

School Committee Chairman Rob Tiro, who also serves on the Labor Relations Subcommittee, said that the subcommittee felt that 15 was the maximum number that would be manageable. Subcommittee member Kate Morgan added that with the tight timeline they are working with, a larger number might make it difficult to reach some of their target dates.

School Committee members voted to accept the recommended composition of the Screening Committee.

The School Committee also discussed and approved the job description to be used in the superintendent job posting, which is expected to be posted today.

Anne-Marie Fortier moved to amend the job description by deleting the words “a commitment to promote diversity” and replacing it with “a demonstrated ability to understand and empathize with people of diverse learning experiences and to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The School Committee also affirmed that it wanted the Screening Committee to send them three finalists, with the flexibility to add one more if circumstances warrant.


At last night’s meeting, Dr. Smith presented a preliminary draft of the 2018-2019 School Calendar. She asked the School Committee to take some time to review it and offer any feedback that they may have.

She mentioned the idea of closing school on religious holidays. She observed that Wakefield has never closed school on the Jewish high holidays, but noted that that suggestion was raised at a community forum held in December after several hate symbols were drawn on Galvin middle School lavatories.

Tiro encouraged the public to contact School Committee members with their views on closing school on religious holidays. The committee is expected to vote on the School Calendar at a future meeting.


Dr. Smith reported that at last Saturday’s auditions for the All State Music Festival eight Wakefield High School students were selected to participate in the festival on March 1-3 at Symphony Hall in Boston. She noted that this is the largest number from Wakefield in 15 years.


In other business last night, the School Committee:

• Heard an update on professional development from Assistant Superintendent Doug Lyons, Walton School Principal Elaina Byrne and Walton teacher Kathy Cristiano.

• Approved a request from the Wakefield Independence Day Committee to use the parking lot at the Galvin Middle School during April School vacation for its annual fundraising carnival.

• Accepted a gift of $75 from Leuders Environmental.

• Accepted a gift of $1,000 from the MGLD Delory Children’s Revocable Trust for the WMHS Gymnastics Program.