Thursday, January 7, 2016

Superintendent Search Committee Names Finalists

Brian Lee reports in the Worcester Telegram that Richard D’Agostino, a retired Warwick, Rhode Island, superintendent; George P. King Jr., the assistant superintendent of Bolton-based Nashoba Regional School District; Amy McKinstry, Northbridge director of curriculum; and Sheryl Stanton, Southbridge assistant superintendent, were announced as finalists for the position of Southbridge's Superintendent of Schools.

Also Thursday, the search committee issued a letter to state Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester explaining why it went against his recommendation to delay the search.

The commissioner is considering recommending that the Level 4 underperforming district be declared Level 5 and chronically underperforming. It would trigger the appointment of a receiver who would have the authority of superintendent and School Committee.

Ms. Congdon's letter to Mr. Chester said that the Southbridge School Committee agreed unanimously that it has a duty to continue the search for a superintendent, and the search committee was in agreement with the decision. It interviewed five candidates.

Ms. McKinstry was also the source of a controversial issue in the district after she left for Northbridge. In 2014, she was criticized by then-Superintendent Patricia Gardner, who had accused Ms. McKinstry of not correctly administering a standardized test at the middle-high school during the 2013-14 academic year when Ms. McKinstry, then known as Amy Allen-Magnan, was the building principal.

In a discussion about the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System during the Sept. 23, 2014, school board meeting, Ms. Gardner asserted that “people were not honest” and had signed documents and said that things had been done correctly. She further said not all students eligible to retake MCAS tests had been offered the opportunity to do so.

Later that week, in an interview, Ms. Gardner suggested that Ms. McKinstry was the person responsible for the alleged MCAS improprieties. 

Months later, Ms. Gardner resigned from Southbridge, and her assertions led to the School Committee in June rejecting Ms. Gardner's statements. The allegations were incorrect, the school board said.


  1. Hum, what was that rumor I heard on the streets? Oh yeah Amy would be the next superintendent. It is certainly looking like it could be true...

  2. Word On The StreetJanuary 8, 2016 at 12:52 AM

    When I read Mr Lazo's glowing comments in the T&G about Amy -- McKinistry I thought of two things.
    Exodus's Word on the street claim 1 / SC member Jack Jovan 0
    Jack Jovan December 28, 2015 at 2:19 PM
    News to me, I don't even have a list of who applied or who is in the mix!!! I so love the word on the street.
    Jack, the lesson here is that at times the word on the street (expressed on this blog) is just as, if not more,correct as it can be wrong. That you should love the word on the street as you might learn or be informed of something that your colleagues have kept from you.
    Mr Lazo expounded on her being a true blue worker before leaving for Northbridge. What he didn't say is how she left on extended absence or that she poached Southbridge teachers to follow her to Northbridge. Why leaving Southbridge in this manner is to be considered True Blue as opposed to staying and sticking it out. Nor did he say how she knew to apply, or how she was selected to be on the first superintendent search committee. It kind of resembles the Patriots next man up mantra on the surface with the pool of SC connections and friends.

    Look, I'm not saying that she doesn't have professional skills, I'm just pointing out that her close relationship with some school committee members is actually a detriment to her being trusted as a viable candidate especially given this SC track record with other known candidates.
    That said this is all a moot exercise by ego driven personalities because the state is coming and I pity the fool that accepts this position.

  3. Watch out for Flying MonkeysJanuary 8, 2016 at 4:09 AM

    I guess they are not looking for an "Experienced" Superintendent???? Let us not forget that she was unsuccessful as both the Wells Principal and the SMHS Principal.

  4. Watch out for Flying MonkeysJanuary 8, 2016 at 5:14 AM

    Just Type in "Amy" and in the search box on the top left of this blog and review the turmoil that she has caused in the district.

  5. Been here long enough to knowJanuary 8, 2016 at 6:33 AM

    Here we go again...someone with too many ties to local people. She hangs out with school committee members, vacations and parties with staff. Tell me how she can be an effective leader again? (let's also mention how much medical leave she has taken throughout the years.) Ridiculous! Having her a finalist should be reason enough for State takeover.

  6. I don'r understand why Dr. D'Agostino is being considered being his controversy in Warwick and them voting no confidence in him this September. Due to the allegations in an investigation the school had done, even though he 'retired' in June the town is still paying legal fees etc. in looking into his actions last year.

    he was only a superintendent for one year, i don't believe any of the other 3 have ever been one except our current curriculum director.

    1. Well then I guess Mr. D'Agostino would be a perfect candidate, some one with a shady pass is Lazo favorite kind of person to control. We all do remember Ely right??? Oh wait according to Lazo Ely was no good, maybe he forgets he brought that piece of garbage here with his bud Jovan.

  7. The State putting the School system in receivership before putting the Town in receivership is like giving a wounded jaywalker a ticket and ignoring the drunk driver that ran the jaywalker over.

  8. The posted job description says:
    Superintendent of Schools

    The Southbridge School Committee is seeking a dynamic, motivated, and experienced educational leader to fill the position of Superintendent of Schools in our culturally diverse community. Candidates should have excellent academic credentials, strong management and financial skills, excellent communication skills, expertise in cultivating curriculum and instruction and a demonstrated record of leadership. Southbridge is an urban school district with approximately 2,200 pupils.

    QUALIFICATIONS: Licensed or eligible for licensure as a Superintendent of Schools in MA; Master’s degree required, advanced degree preferred; minimum of 10 years in preK-12 education, Superintendent experience required with a minimum of three years preferred.

    SALARY: $145-160K negotiable based on experience; benefits package negotiable; three year contract.

    I don’t see where even one of these “outstanding candidates” has three years experience.

  9. Here’s the knife BrutusJanuary 8, 2016 at 4:51 PM

    I’ve gotta wonder why the only person from Southbridge who was at yeaterdays meeting between Senator Fatman and Commissioner Chester wasn’t from the school committee but was Councilor Clemence.

    1. Either she is trying to catch up on what is happening or she is worried about property value. Either way I hope she got an earful and now see what is going on


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