Granby offers superintendent’s job to Agawam High School Principal Steven Lemanski



Last modified: Saturday, December 19, 2015

GRANBY — The School Committee voted 4-1 Thursday night to offer the job of superintendent to Agawam High School Principal Steven Lemanski. The school board still must negotiate a contract with him.

The vote came after deliberations of nearly two hours during which the committee members said they were torn between two of the finalists but were swayed by what they perceived as Lemanski’s ability to change the culture of the district.

“He has the ability to bring the morale up which is desperately needed” in Granby, said School Committee member Jennifer Curran. She also said she was impressed that Lemanski was the only one of the final candidates to mention his concern for special needs students during the interview process.

School Committee member Marie McCourt, who also served on the search committee and visited Agawam High School as part of the search, made the motion to offer Lemanski the position.

“From every faction that we visited with we heard that he has got this way about him that he can get you to do what he wants,” said McCourt. “He is very good at helping people understand all the different parts” of an issue.

School Committee Chairman Emre Evren, who seconded Lemanski’s nomination, voted with the majority. “I am a big believer that the best communicators are people who can listen well,” Evren said.

Evren said he was impressed by how thoroughly Lemanski had studied Granby’s strategic plan for the schools.

Lemanski worked as a recreation supervisor for the state Department of Youth Services earlier in his career. He also worked in Chicopee for nearly a decade before moving to Agawam as assistant principal in 2004. He has been principal there since 2007.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

School Committee member Deanne Payne-Rokowski also voted for Lemanski.

The fifth school board member, James Pietras, voted for Sheryl Stanton, currently assistant superintendent for the Southbridge Public Schools. On a second vote, Pietras switched his support to Lemanski to make the School Committee’s choice unanimous.

The School Committee now must negotiate a contract with Lemanski. Evren said Lemanski’s salary is subject to negotiations.

The third finalist, who did not receive any votes, was Jennifer Chapin, principal of the Hatfield Elementary School. She also serves as the early childhood and Title I director for Hatfield.

Lemanski, who lives in South Hadley, would begin in Granby on July 1. He would replace Judith Houle, who has been serving as acting superintendent since Isabelina Rodriguez left in March to become the bureau chief for special education in the Connecticut State Department of Education.

Houle, who previously served as superintendent of the Belchertown Schools, has a job with The Management Solution, an educational consulting company based in Auburn. Granby had been one of her clients and also will be next year after she leaves the interim position.

Evren said that would allow Houle to work with Lemanski and continue to be involved with the Granby schools during the next academic year.

Eric Goldscheider can be reached at eric.goldscheider@gmail.com.




 


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