South Hadley’s superintendent, on leave for nine months, officially resigns

  • Jahmal Mosley has resigned as superintendent of South Hadley schools nine months after being placed on paid leave. FILE PHOTO

  • Buses pick up students from South Hadley High School at dismissal on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/9/2023 4:44:53 PM
Modified: 1/9/2023 4:41:45 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Nine months after being placed on paid leave, Jahmal Mosley has tendered a one-sentence resignation as superintendent.

School Committee Chairperson Allison Schlachter confirmed Monday that Mosley resigned as of Dec. 31 and is no longer an employee of the South Hadley public school district. She declined further comment.

Mosley, who was hired on July 1, 2021, has been described by district officials as “out of office” since March. His four-year contract was for $174,000 per year.

Last summer, the Gazette reported that on May 24 a Boston employment lawyer sent a public records request to the district, seeking a large volume of documents pertaining to Mosley. The Gazette obtained the public records request through its own records request to the district.

David Brody, a partner at the firm Sherin and Lodgen and the president of the Massachusetts Employment Lawyers Association, requested officials’ communications about Mosley as well “as any and all documents concerning, regarding, reflecting, or evincing contract negotiations between the School Committee and any Superintendent of the South Hadley Public Schools from 1973 to the present.”

It was unclear if Brody was representing Mosley at the time.

McLaughlin namedinterim superintendent

Amid Mosley’s unexplained absence, Mark McLaughlin, who was previously the district’s assistant superintendent, was appointed in May as the acting superintendent. At the same time, Jennifer Voyik, the district’s business administrator, took over as acting assistant superintendent.

At the Jan. 5 School Committee meeting, members appointed McLaughlin to interim superintendent. Prior to the vote, members spoke glowingly about his performance over the past year.

“You’re all very kind — your words mean everything to me,” McLaughlin said. “I appreciate it all very much. It is a privilege to work with you all, the leadership team, the students of South Hadley and teachers of South Hadley.”

Schlachter explained that the title change from acting to interim is a distinction because the district now has a superintendent vacancy rather than an absence.

The School Committee chairperson lauded McLaughlin and called his leadership and dedication “remarkable.”

“In the midst of all the change and turmoil, Dr. McLaughlin has not only met each challenge as it came, but he also improved the district in other ways,” said Schlachter. “Our team of administrators has never looked better.”

Since he came on board, McLaughlin has hired several new administrators, including Plains Elementary School Principal Carla Lussier and Michael E. Smith Middle School Principal Christopher Fontaine and Vice Principal Anne Scanlan-Emigh.

Schlachter also commended McLaughlin’s response to the unexpected death of Plains Elementary School Principal Henry “Hank” Skala, who died in April 2022 at 67. Skala had been on leave since February 2022 when he had fallen “quite ill,” according to a previous Gazette report.

“He handled that tragedy with compassion and care — it could not have been handled better,” she said.

Also at the Jan. 5 meeting, School Committee members unanimously approved appointing Voyik as the assistant superintendent, pending contract negotiation. Members discussed how McLaughlin’s contract as assistant superintendent expired on June 30, 2022 and he was granted a new contract as acting superintendent until the end of December.

Much like McLaughlin, members raved about Voyik’s work ethic.

“Jen is the head of human resources, the finance director, she handles the transportation for the district … She’s been known to drive a bus when there’s a shortage, fill in for an administrator, substitute teach … if there’s a shortage or a problem, she does it. She handles it,” said Schlachter.

Committee member Lynda Pickbourn described Voyik as “wearing three or four hats,” and Schlachter called her the “backbone of the school system.”

As for the role of a permanent superintendent, a search will need to be conducted in the near future, according to Schlachter.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at
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