Granby superintendent to depart for position in Greenfield schools

STEPHEN SULLIVAN

STEPHEN SULLIVAN

By ANTHONY CAMMALLERI

Staff Writer

Published: 03-20-2024 4:36 PM

GREENFIELD — Granby’s superintendent of schools is expected to become Greenfield School Department’s assistant superintendent of teaching and learning next school year.

Stephen Sullivan, who is currently serving his third year as Granby’s school leader and also served as Holyoke High School’s principal before that, will take on this new role early in July — a shift that will coincide with Greenfield Superintendent Christine DeBarge’s June 30 retirement and Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Karin Patenaude becoming the new superintendent on July 1.

The Greenfield School Committee announced Sullivan’s hiring at its meeting last week, where he introduced himself and outlined his background as an educator.

“I see this as an opportunity to get into a bigger district with a focus on teaching and learning, and I look forward to the opportunity to grow and learn about Greenfield and all the great work that’s happening here,” Sullivan told the committee.

After a month-long hiring process, Patenaude said Sullivan’s “wealth of experience” in curriculum and instructional leadership made him stand out among the other candidates.

As the district moves into the second year of its strategic plan to improve student outcomes, Patenaude said she expects Sullivan’s experience will be an asset to the district.

“I’m really looking forward to having him on board as a part of the Greenfield team, and I’m very excited about July 1 and taking over as head of the district,” Patenaude said in an interview. “He’s going to continue the work of adopting high-quality instructional materials so that our students all have equitable access to those materials in their classrooms, getting grade-level standard curriculum and rising to the expectations of standards-based curriculum.”

Sullivan began his 20-year career in education as a teacher at Dean Technical High School in Holyoke, where he worked for eight years, taking a one-year leave of absence to teach in Madrid, Spain. He went on to earn his administrative license, which helped him secure a position as the assistant principal at his alma mater, Holyoke High School. There he worked for four years before taking over as principal.

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After three years at the helm of Holyoke High, Sullivan moved to Granby to work as principal of Granby Junior Senior High School. Only a few years later, he was hired as the district’s superintendent when former Granby Public Schools’ Superintendent Sheryl Stanton stepped down from her position in the summer of 2020.

As superintendent, Sullivan led the charge to start a benchmark assessment system allowing school officials to periodically track students’ academic performance without having to rely solely on state data.

“We needed to have formative data that is coming from our students throughout the year so that we could intervene sooner and in real time, rather than waiting for MCAS data and things like that,” Sullivan said. “Having an assessment system that now allows us to use some of our formative data is one of the things that I’m most proud of [in Granby].”

Sullivan said he takes pride in his work toward launching a new math curriculum in Granby and making strides in the district’s accountability data. He said the district has made substantial progress toward its targets, with the district meeting or exceeding 61% of its goals.

Hoping to have his “toe dipped in the water” in Greenfield prior to starting, Sullivan plans to thoroughly gauge the district’s strengths and weaknesses in his first few months so as to hit the ground running at the start of the school year.

“I anticipate in the next few months I’ll be talking to teachers, talking to administrators, parents, students, families, about their experiences. I’d like to start by learning, not coming in with an agenda,” Sullivan said. “The team there now has done a lot of great work and I think part of the job is continuing that work, but also coming in with a new lens and seeing opportunities in other places to maybe make some small shifts or changes that ultimately could impact student outcome.”

Anthony Cammalleri can be reached at acammalleri@recorder.com or 413-930-4429.