School Committee’s Garcia Fires Back After Hernandez Letter

About one month after former School Committeeman Julio Hernandez – the vice chair of the Committee – suddenly resigned, citing a lack of interest in the Committee from other members, one member is firing back to say the School Committee is committed.

Kelly Garcia.

In his letter last month, Hernandez cited financial reasons mostly for his resignation, but also indicated that many members of the School Committee didn’t show up to meetings and didn’t have the best interest of the kids at heart.

In a letter to the Record this week, member Kelly Garcia said she disagreed with that summation and defended her record.

“I persevered and fought against every obstacle that came my way, and I continue to serve on the committee and stand right by my students both in my classroom as a Special Education teacher, as an advocate for increased funding at the State House on Beacon Hill, and the School Committee member representing District 7,” she wrote. “I never gave up on the students of Chelsea because once again, and in Hernandez’s own words, ‘our students’ education is no JOKE.’

“I was appalled to read such negative commentary by a former elected official,” she continued. “A person who has chosen to break his commitment to the Chelsea School District and its students should not be now using social media to undermine those who are left to choose a replacement, while at the same time, having to choose a new Superintendent.”

The letter also indicated that she believed it was Hernandez that failed the students of Chelsea, urging him to move on with dignity.

“Hernandez is an aspiring professional, and I ask that he leave this position with dignity and respect for himself and for his former colleagues who continue to work hard attending the majority of the meetings, asking thought-provoking questions, and searching for the next superintendent,” she wrote.

Hernandez’s resignation came just before the resignation of School Committee Chair Rich Maronski, who also voiced frustrations with the fact that many members don’t attend meetings. He is continuing to serve out through the end of the superintendent search.

Hernandez resigned immediately after the letter.

Read More

Finalists Superintendent Search Committee Forwards Three Names for Consideration

The Chelsea School Committee announced this week the Superintendent Search Screening Committee (Screening Committee) has forwarded the names of three finalists for the Superintendent of Schools vacancy for consideration.

After the application deadline of March 15, 2019, eighteen applications were forwarded to the Screening Committee and on March 25, after a thorough review of the written application materials, the Screening Committee met and engaged in an extended discussion of each candidate, ultimately reaching consensus to invite seven candidates in for an interview. All candidates accepted the invitation and were interviewed during the evenings of April 1, 2 and 3.

The 13 members of the Screening Committee reached unanimous agreement and forwarded the following three educators for consideration as the next superintendent of the Chelsea Public Schools (in last name alphabetical order).

•Almudena (Almi) G. Abeyta

Dr. Almi Abeyta is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for the Somerville Public Schools. She was a kindergarten teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico for seven years and was the Principal of the Donald McKay K-8 School in East Boston for four years prior to assuming a role as the Assistant Academic Superintendent for Middle and K-8 schools in the Boston Public Schools for two and a half years. Dr. Abeyta then served as the Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Santa Fe New Mexico Public Schools for five years and in July 2017 she began her role as the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Somerville. Dr. Abeyta has a Bachelor of Arts, Communication, and Journalism from the University of New Mexico, two Master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in School Leadership and Education Policy and Management, and a Doctor of Education from HGSE in the Urban Superintendents Program.

•Ligia B. Noriega-Murphy

Ligia Noriega-Murphy is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Schools in the Boston Public Schools. Ms. Noriega-Murphy was a Spanish teacher for three years at the Donald McKay Middle School in Boston. She then was a founding faculty member and chair of the world languages department at the Boston Arts Academy for five years. In 2004 she became the Headmaster at Excel High School in South Boston and served in in that role for six years before becoming the Assistant Academic Superintendent for High Schools. In 2012 she was an Assistant Superintendent on Assignment as the Headmaster of The English High School in Boston, where she served for five years. Ms. Noriega-Murphy has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from UMass Boston, a Master’s degree in Management from Cambridge College, and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Education Leadership from UMass Boston.

•Anthony A. Parker

Anthony Parker is currently the Principal at Weston High School, where he has served in that role for the past thirteen years. After several years as a journalist, Mr. Parker was a high school history teacher in the Newton Public Schools for 13 years (at Newton South and Newton North High Schools). From 2000-2006 he served as a Housemaster at Newton North High School, prior to his move to Weston. He also has been a Massachusetts Education Policy Fellow at the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy in Boston. Mr. Parker has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology-Anthropology from Earlham College, a Master’s degree in Teaching and Curriculum from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has additional graduate studies at Boston College.

The school community will have the opportunity to meet these finalists when they visit Chelsea during the week of April 29 and to attend the School Committee interviews with the finalists during the week of May 6. The schedule of these district visits and School Committee interviews will be communicated when it is finalized.

The Chelsea School Committee said they would like to especially thank the members of the Screening Committee for their dedication and commitment to this search process.

The Screening Committee met on five different evenings to prepare, review,

interview, debate, deliberate and decide on the finalists presented to the Chelsea School Committee. Each member played a key role in ensuring that all individual members were listened to and their perspective considered. Those members were Jeanette Velez, Priti Johari, Monica Lamboy, Peter Pappavaselio, Margo DiBiasio, Anibal Santiago, Lisa Lineweaver, Tom Ambrosino, Louise Campanella, Kathryn Anderson, Ilana Ascher, Angelica Bachour, and Marisol Santiago.

The Screening Committee was assisted in this process by search consultants from the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

Read More