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March 23, 2013

Marblehead school chief resigns

Saying he could not longer work collaboratively with a majority of the School Committee, Marblehead Superintendent Gregory Maass abruptly resigned Thursday night during a school board budget hearing despite having one year left on his contract.

“First, due to personal circumstance, I can no longer commit the time and energy needed to be successful in the job,” Maass wrote in his resignation letter. “I’d like you to know, I’ve never been one to let personal or family concerns stand in my way of getting my job done but at the current time, I have to take a step back and do what’s right for me and the Marblehead Public Schools.”

Maass cited friction and a loss of confidence with a majority of the school board that he feels has “blurred” its oversight authority role with the superintendent’s function as day-to-day school chief.

“Quite frankly, I feel like a referee not a superintendent,” Maass wrote. He said in an interview that his leadership style, focused on the mission of education, conflicted with how a majority of the board dealt with him.

“I have to accept I’m going to be a power player or leave,” Maass said yesterday. “So, I chose to leave.”

Maass’ resignation is effective June 30.

School Committee member Kathy Leonardson said Maass brought stability, and performed at a high level.

“I was horrified,” Leonardson said when Maass resigned. “It was heartbreaking.” She had been on the search committee that hired him.

“For all of us who do this job,” Maass said in his letter, “it’s vital to have a respectful and honorable relationship with the respective committee we serve. It’s time for me to be true to myself and step away from the tense environment I referenced in my mid-year evaluation.” The ongoing conflict, he said, would have become a distraction.

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