Granby offers school superintendent’s job to Sheryl Stanton after first choice withdraws



Last modified: Tuesday, January 26, 2016

GRANBY — The School Committee voted Thursday night to offer the superintendent’s position to Sheryl Stanton after contract negotiations broke down with its first choice for the job.

Stanton, now an assistant superintendent for the Southbridge schools, said Friday, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve the community. Beyond that, we are moving through the next steps and certainly once we reach agreement I’m sure we’ll have more to say.”

Agawam High School Principal Steven Lemanski in December was offered the job, which was advertised with an annual salary range of $120,000 to $130,000. The School Committee voted Thursday to accept his letter withdrawing from consideration.

School Committee Chairman Emre Evren said Friday that he does not know why the negotiations with Lemanski broke down. “All I know is that he came to the conclusion that he did not want to pursue it any further,” said Evren. “We did not get into the specifics of what he liked and did not like.”

The School Committee made an initial offer and then tried to adjust it “to the requests that were received to the best of our ability,” said Evren. “After that I don’t really want to speak on Steve’s behalf because it was his decision.”

Emre said Lemanski visited Granby a few times after being offered the job. “We had multiple contacts with him but for contract negotiation we only had our initial offer and then we had one more meeting.”

Lemanski said Friday he decided to decline the job for personal reasons and because he and the School Committee “couldn’t come to terms of contract details and also my desire to continue to work in Agawam.” He said the decision went beyond financial considerations. “It just wasn’t the right fit for me,” Lemanski added.

Evren said the School Committee then “extended an offer” to Stanton who replied that she is still interested. “We don’t know what she may come back with, but the indications are, and we are very happy about that, she will be our next superintendent,” he added.

If the School Committee cannot come to agreement with Stanton, it would probably initiate a new search, Evren said.

Stanton served as acting superintendent in Southbridge from January to July 2015 before returning to the job of assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. The Southbridge schools have an annual budget of more than $25 million, about double that of Granby.

Stanton previously served as principal of two schools in Ludlow. She was at the Baird Middle School for five years starting in 2009. Before that she led the Veterans Park Elementary School for two years.

And Stanton was a 7th-grade special education and ELA teacher in Springfield where she also held several district-wide leadership jobs. Those included instructional technology specialist.

Stanton said she is looking forward to working in the region. “I love western Mass. It is where I began my career … I’m happy to be back amongst some colleagues I have strong relationships with.”

She earned a master’s of arts degree in teaching from the College of Our Lady of the Elms in Chicopee and is pursuing a doctorate through the University of Phoenix, which specializes in online degree programs.

Stanton said her chief strengths include a background in curriculum instruction.

She is happy about the prospect of working in a district with about 850 students. “I come from a small town, I appreciate the values of a small town and a small community, the strengths that it brings children in terms of community and family,” said Stanton.

Judith Houle, who was previously superintendent of the Belchertown schools, has been acting superintendent in Granby since Isabelina Rodriguez left last March to become the bureau chief for special education in the Connecticut Department of Education.

Houle agreed with Evren’s assessment that if Stanton does not take the job, the School Committee would start a new search. “That would probably be what would happen,” she said.

Asked if she would be prepared to stay beyond the end of this school year if needed, Houle said, “We would have to have a discussion about that but I don’t see that as being the outcome here.”

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


 

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