Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Amy Allen Magnan's Statement Before School Committee


  1. SHM...choose a superintendent by a search committee?? Heck, if Jovan. Lazo and Dominko didn't interfere in the search years ago, we might not be in this situation right now. Because the search committee did not choose their FRIEND, they discounted all the work that was done! In the end, they chose someone they knew who could be manipulated into doing their dirty work because of his past history. A search committee DOES NOT WORK in this Town. The DESE needs to come in and clean house. They need to do the hiring!!!! And hire educators from FAR, FAR AWAY so that no one knows anybody!!! That is the only way things are going to change!!!

  2. That is by far the biggest pile of crap I have ever read. You have no idea what transpired..define what dirty work was done, and btw where is that stellar candidate that the committee, which by the way includes Donovan and McLoughin, put forward. If he was so good....why isn't he a Superintendent in a district, what 8 years later...he was going to be the puppet...get your facts shesaid!!!!

  3. Right on Miti - and wasn't he some sort of relation (by marriage) or whatever?? Shouldn't that have been disclosed publicly???

    Search committees have a difficult job - trying to vet candidates - and I have found that talking to coworkers/townspeople doesn't always paint the whole true picture - especially, if they are trying to get rid of someone - as in Ely's case;

    Unfortunately, the general public is not privy to much of the dirt - confidentially must be maintained and I agree, there is much that could and should be told not just from that time period - but ongoing. And unfortunately, some people assume that because a person is silent, they are guilty - or at fault, which is often not the case - but that personal values respecting privacy and confidentiality must prevail.

  4. Since I was on the search committee, I can help put to rest this discussion.
    The search committee was asked to bring forward 3 to 5 candidates for the school committee to choose from. After interviewing all the candidates, we ranked them independently and tallied them as a group. I don’t remember the order of our top two but Cataldo was 3rd, Ely was 4th and Bishop was 5th. Since only the top 3 candidates received votes from more than ½ the committee, it was decided that only the top three would be submitted to school committee. Mr. Lazo was on the search committee and knew, as did all of us, each candidate’s rank. At school committee, Mr. Lazo made a motion to have the search committee go back and recommend the top 5 candidates. The search committee met and discussed the new instructions from the school committee but still decided that the top three were the only viable candidates. The school committee rejected our position, dismissed the committee and decided to conduct the search themselves. They had every right to do this but our top 2 candidates decided to withdraw because of this and our Massachusetts Association of School Committee search coordinator quit stating this as her reason.

    Seeing this from the inside, it was clear that the goal was to make sure Mr. Bishop was at least elevated to next step in the process. I can only speculate on why Mr. Bishop withdrew his name but the process left us with only the search committee’s 3rd and 4th candidate left standing at the end. The school committee picked Ely and downward spiral began.

  5. Remember that???June 12, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Thank you Mr. Williams for that insightful clarification. Remember this when you go to the polls people. The interference and foolish actions of Lazo and Bishop started this mess, and has led to the downfall of this district from Day 1. I do wonder about Mr. Bishop's motives for running though. Lawsuit in progress and I imagine a conflict of interest if you try to appoint yourself as Principal or Superintendent. Guess it's just retaliation at this point.

  6. Mr Williams thank you for your input. But as the Chair of the School Committee as well as the Chair of that search committee during that time some of your sequence of events needs to be clarified. The search committee did put forth three names to be finalist for the position and yes Mr Lazo wanted all five. At the end of the night we stayed with the three finalists and the MASC rep that was assisting with the search contacted all three and advised them of the status and request to come before the school committee. As I recall I then was called out of town due to my full-time job and while sitting on the tarmac was contacted by the MASC rep stating that one of the finalist was not wishing to go forward as he had had decided to stay in his current position. I personally spoke to this individual and asked if he would reconsider and he stated that he thanked the town for the opportunity but did not want t pursue the position at this time. While in Oklahoma I was contacted again and told that the second finalist had accepted another position in another community and was withdrawing. This left the one final candidate. I then contacted my vice chairman at the time and asked the he chair a meeting as a moderator only and he went to the meeting and passed the gavel to the town manager. The meeting convened and the search committee insisted that they move forward with the one remaining candidate.

    This is when the school committee intervened. It was not we want the five candidates and will accept no less. It was when the number was down to only one final candidate to interview for the position before the school committee. The charge of the search committee was to forward viable candidates to the SCHOOL COMMITTEE for appointment and it was not their duty to select the superintendent. The search committee was pretty adamant that they wanted us to interview the one and only candidate left and not go back into the pool. The school committee, which is their right, decided to interview the one that was remaining and the next three on the list. So that we, the school committee and the town (as the interviews were in open session and on tv) could get to know the candidates and look at their strengths and weaknesses. The school committee also conducted site visits, which were very telling as some of the candidates had stronger interviews but the site visits provided a different story. At the end of the day, we had a guy that gave a great interview, had a very strong site visit and was selected, but unfortunately once here was not what I had expected based on what we had seen in the search. I love the critics that say we just wanted Mr Bishop, if that was so he would have had the votes and moved forward.

    In retrospect, maybe the school committee should have just scraped that search and started a new one and given Mr Bishop and interim role and see what he would have been like. I do know one thing, he was the principal of my kids school, that was how I got to know him. He may have had his issues but do know that he brought the Southbridge High School to a level one, the NEASC accreditation was complete and we were going to be off probation, our drop out rate was reduced, our graduation rate had increased, the turnover of staff in his building was minimal and you know what, he lived in Southbridge and cared about the school and the kids. That is my humble opinion and the facts as I know them. Anyone that would truly like to have a sit down and talk about what transpired, in an honest and respectful manner, please call me. The facts are the facts. Folks lets just have an honest discussion, there are many factors that I know that I wish I could discuss, but I am bound by confidentiality and will respect my oath as a former town official.


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