, Salem, MA


March 27, 2013

Our view: Another leadership vacuum in the Marblehead schools

It’s another year, another crisis for the Marblehead schools, which find themselves once again in the market for a superintendent.

The latest crisis began — or, more accurately, surfaced — at last week’s School Committee meeting, when Superintendent Greg Maass shocked the crowd by announcing his resignation, effective June 30.

Maass said he was driven from his $179,000-a-year job by interference by and a lack of respect from a majority of the School Committee, which he feels has overstepped its bounds when it comes to the day-to-day functions of the superintendent’s office.

“Quite frankly, I feel like a referee, not a superintendent,” Maass wrote in his resignation letter.

“Two years ago, when I was offered the position, I understood the work to be transformative, and the methodology that the School Committee and I agreed upon to get the work accomplished would be collaborative,” Maass wrote. “In other words, there would be a need for change, and we would do the needed change in a team-based, mutual way. Recently, the culture within the majority of the School Committee has moved away from this methodology. In my opinion, it has turned into a transactional and fractured environment, one quite frankly I’m not compatible with.”

Maass has been well-respected for his work since being hired from the Green Bay, Wis., public schools to replace retiring Superintendent Paul Dulac in 2011.

School Committee member Kathy Leonardson told reporter Ethan Forman that Maass brought stability to the district and performed at a high level.

“I was horrified” when Maass resigned, Leonardson said. “It was heartbreaking.”

As examples, Maass said some school board members refused to comply with his request to contact him before talking to other administrators or staff “unrelated to their parent role.” Another School Committee member walked out of a budget meeting; another suggested he ignore advice from the district’s legal counsel, he said.

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