Two former members fill vacant seats on Easthampton School Committee

  • Easthampton High School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/1/2023 2:50:13 PM
Modified: 6/1/2023 2:49:48 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Two former School Committee members will fill vacancies on the committee for the rest of the year, and they’re already hitting the ground running.

Sarah Hunter and Laura Scott were sworn in to their new roles Wednesday night after being elected by the 14 members of the combined City Council and School Committee using sequential, ranked-choice voting. The pair would have their municipal emails established on Thursday and receive resumes and information in the search for an interim superintendent.

“I’m excited,” School Committee Chairperson Cynthia Kwiecinski said. “I’m glad we could fit this in before the interim superintendent interviews this weekend, because now we have a full team.”

Hunter and Scott were among nine residents who volunteered to serve on the School Committee following the resignation of members Shannon Dunham and Laurie Garcia, who stepped down following the failed superintendent search.

With the annual election in November, the terms are partial and the new members will serve until Dec. 31.

The School Committee and City Council came together at the beginning of May to lay out the process to fill the seats and heard from volunteer candidates on May 18. Other candidates for the two vacant seats were Sean Bates, Heather Brophy, Catherine Wauczinski, Timothy St. John, Albert Sanchez, Lynda Broadhurst and Louise Jacob.

Hunter, who served on the School Committee from 2014 to 2018, works for the state Department of Developmental Services.

“I felt a calling. I felt I have the skills needed to serve the community in this way, at this time,” she said.

Scott, who said she brings experience as a former public school educator, was previously appointed to the School Committee in 2013 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former member Bonnie Katusich. Following that term, she was reelected for another term. She decided to seek a seat again to offer her experience to the interim superintendent search.

“A lot has been going on and for me, I’ve served before, I have served before and I still have kids in schools. It felt like an appropriate time,” she said.

Both Hunter and Scott said they were considering running in the fall as well.

School Committee member Marin Goldstein said that the experience of Scott and Hunter was an advantage.

“Saturday, we’re going to be interviewing superintendents. … They have that experience and understanding of what that role is, how to interact with that role and how to make a decision on who is going to be best to fit in the district,” Goldstein said.

Interviews for interim superintendent candidates will be held virtually during public session, beginning on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. with Maureen F. Binienda, who is currently the interim superintendent at Quaboag Regional School District. At 6:30 p.m., the School Committee will interview Mary Jane Rickson, principal of Murdock High School in Winchendon.

On Sunday at 5 p.m., the committee will interview internal candidate Sarah Mochak, who is the district’s director of special education.

The final candidates will be interviewed on Monday. Marlene A. DiLeo, superintendent at Ware Public Schools, will be interviewed at 5 p.m. and Roland R. Joyal Jr., executive director of Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative in West Springfield, will be interviewed at 7 p.m.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at
Sign up for our free email updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Headlines
Daily Hampshire Gazette Contests & Promotions
Daily Hampshire Gazette Evening Top Reads
Daily Hampshire Gazette Breaking News
Daily Hampshire Gazette Obits
Daily Hampshire Gazette Sports
Daily Hampshire Gazette PM Updates
Daily Hampshire Gazette Weekly Top Stories
Valley Advocate Newsletter
Daily Hampshire Gazette Dining & Entertainment


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.

Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

23 Service Center Road
Northampton, MA 01060


Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy