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.
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
“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.
resigned immediately after the letter.
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
•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.
Committee was assisted in this process by search consultants from the Edward J.
Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.