Friday, January 13, 2017

Essex Westford School District Superintendent Hire

Following an extensive review of candidates, the newly formed Essex Westford School District Board of School Directors has appointed Beth Ellen Cobb as Superintendent commencing July 1, 2017.

Ms. Cobb, of Lyndonville, a career Vermont educator,  is currently Superintendent in the Orange East Supervisory Union in Bradford where she has been employed since 2010. A graduate of Lyndon State College, she received her Master of Education degree from the University of Southern New Hampshire. She is also a graduate of the Snelling Center Vermont School Leadership Project and the Vermont Superintendents’ Association Leadership Academy.

Martha Heath, chairperson of the EWSD School Board said “The Board is delighted to welcome Beth to our newly structured community school system. Beth’s experience in the classroom, her successful track record as superintendent, and her knowledge of curriculum and instruction are notable strengths. Known for her passionate and collaborative leadership style, Beth is a great person to lead our district through this transition and beyond.   The feedback we received from the many constituent groups who interacted with her during school visits and staff and community forums was overwhelmingly positive.  She communicated a profound enthusiasm for bringing people together to enhance student opportunities.
We look forward to Beth joining us on July 1.”

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the communities of Essex and Westford as the superintendent,” said Cobb. “Throughout the past month I have had the pleasure of learning about the two exceptional educational systems.  I look forward to leading and facilitating the collaboration as they become one, while maintaining a focus on what is best for the students.”

The Board’s appointed Search Committee interviewed seven candidates from a pool of 28 applicants. The finalists -- Ms. Cobb, Ned Kirsch, current superintendent in Franklin West SU and Dr. Jay Badams of Erie, PA -- comprised a group of three very capable and talented leaders. Dr. Badams is pursuing a similar position in the Hanover, NH/Norwich, VT school district.

Heath acknowledged, “We were fortunate to have a quality group of applicants from which to choose. I wish to thank the students, staff, parents and community members who participated in the varied internal and community forums and provided the Board with essential feedback. I also wish to extend the Board’s appreciation to our Search Committee who worked tirelessly throughout this process.”

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January 3rd Meeting Recap

The Essex Westford Educational Community Unified Union School District board held its first meeting of 2017 on January 3rd in the Essex High School library.  Draft minutes are posted here.  Highlights of the meeting include:

-District CFO Deac Decarreau presented the base “rollover” budget to the board. This budget has been adjusted and compiled to reflect what it would cost to provide the same services in the 2017-18 academic year as in 2016-17. Some reductions were noted, such as a bond payment that is being retired and the fact that we will only be paying one superintendent. Since this is a base budget, it reflects no additions to services, even ones that are likely to be necessary (such as busing Westford students to Essex High). Proposed additions will be covered in the next four meetings which address sections of the budget in greater detail.

-The board approved three policies on second reading: Student Attendance, Student Privacy Rights, and Prevention of Harassment, Hazing and Bullying of Students. Policies can now be viewed in a handy central location on the new district web site a short time after they have been approved by the board.

-Brendan Kinney, who is heading up the board’s subcommittee work on transportation, discussed with the board the timeline, the work to define equity, and our goals for engagement.

The next regular board meeting will occur on Tuesday, January 17th.  Each Tuesday this month, however, will feature a budget work session. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and learn about the budget process.  Topics that will be covered are as follows:
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Administrative Budget (Central Office and District Wide Expenses)
Tuesday, Jan. 17: Special Education Budget
Tuesday, Jan. 24: Pre-K-12 Budget

Tuesday, Jan. 31: CTE Budget and Recommended Capital and Transition Budget

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

School Board Budget Workshops

In January the EWECUUSD school board will be conducting budget workshops every Tuesday evening. On January 3rd and January 17th, the workshops will be part of the regular monthly meeting agenda. The other Tuesday meetings will be solely focused on budget discussions. All meetings begin at 6:30 pm and take place at the Essex High School Library.

Members of the public are welcome at these and all meetings of the unified school board. Please consider taking this opportunity to learn more about the nuts and bolts working of the district as we plan for the 2017-2018 school year.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Superintendent Search Community Forums

The candidates for superintendent of the new Essex Westford Unified Union School District will be
participating in community forums and final interviews with the school board on January 4th and 5th.  The community forum with candidate Ned Kirsch will be at 6:30 pm on January 4th, the forum with Beth Cobb will be at 7:40 pm on January 4th and the forum with Jay Badams will be at 6:30 pm on January 5th. All forums will take place at the Essex High School Library.

Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to take this opportunity to meet the finalists for the superintendent position in the unified district.

Minutes of Policy Subcommittee Meeting, Dec. 6th

The minutes of the Policy task team from December 6th, 2016, are available here.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Next Board Meeting December 20th

The EWECUUSD board will hold its next meeting on December 20, 2016 at 6:30 pm in the Essex High School library. The agenda is available here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 6th Board Meeting Recap

The unified board met on December 6th, 2016, in the Essex High School library.  Draft minutes are posted here.  Highlights of the meeting include:

-District CFO Deac Decarreau shared more budget information with the board. After careful examination of the budgets of the merging districts, she has developed a spreadsheet restating the prior and current year expenditures of the existing districts, so that the board can have a clear view of what our communities as a whole have budgeted in the past. This information will be crucial to planning correctly for district needs in the FY 17/18 budget.

-Tim Kemerer, a member of the engagement steering committee that is developing out of the Nellie Mae work, spoke with the board about that committee’s future work, especially around the transportation planning conversation.

-The board approved four policies on second reading: Student Records, Student Alcohol and Drugs, Limited English Proficiency Students, and Participation of Home Study Students.

-Finally, the board heard there would be three finalists for the Superintendent position. These candidates are about to be publicly announced. Brian O’Regan, who is overseeing the search, is developing a specific calendar of events and interviews with them for January 4th and 5th, which will include public forums so community members can meet the candidates. Stay tuned!

The next meeting will occur on Tuesday, December 20th.