School chief Coffin to retire

  • Karol Coffin

Staff Writer
Published: 1/23/2019 2:59:53 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Belchertown Public Schools Superintendent Karol Coffin plans to retire from the district after this school year, effective June 30.

Coffin submitted a letter of intent to retire on Jan. 14 and notified district employees by the following afternoon, according to Michael Knapp, chairman of the Belchertown School Committee. 

“I’ve had a wonderful experience and challenges and joys working in education and spending some reflective time,” Coffin said. “I realize that this is a time in my life when I need to start a new chapter.”

Coffin also cited “an overwhelming sense of this is the right time,” noting that the next superintendent will take on the position at a good time to manage upcoming and current projects such as a possible replacement of Jabish Brook Middle School, a new strategic plan for the district and a STEM lab opening next year.

“We’ve laid a lot of foundations for this to grow in the district,” Coffin said, “so someone new coming in may be able to provide perspective on that that we haven’t considered, or they may have an expertise that is pushing that along.”

Knapp said that the district will begin its search “very soon” and has “every intention of having a new superintendent in place for July 1.”

Coffin has been superintendent for just over four years, having assumed the position on Jan. 1, 2015. She commuted to the job from Hopkinton before moving to Belchertown the following year. 

The contract stipulates that the superintendent should give notification of retirement 120 calendar days in advance, Knapp said, noting that although an additional year was included in the contract, Coffin is “well beyond that number.”

Coffin said that she also wanted to time her retirement to allow her replacement to take over at the beginning of the school year, rather than midway through as Coffin did. 

A search committee composed of citizens, school committee members and district employees will be formed to determine priorities for the next superintendent, Knapp said. The finalist will be interviewed in public and “the hire will be something the public will be fully involved in,” he added.

Coffin said that she will not be involved in the search for the next superintendent, but will be available as a “resource person for whoever has questions.”

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at
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