Former South Hadley High School principal named district’s acting superintendent

  • Former South Hadley Schools Superintendent Nicholas Young. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 12/9/2019 11:12:08 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Following the abrupt departure of former Superintendent Nicholas Young, the South Hadley School Committee has appointed Diana Bonneville, previously the South Hadley High School principal, as acting superintendent.

The School Committee unanimously named Bonneville to the position at a Dec. 2 School Committee meeting, and she will fill the role until Jan. 13. At this time, a search committee will appoint an interim superintendent to serve until the end of the school year.

Bonneville told the Gazette via email that she hopes to continue on as interim superintendent and is “optimistic that I will apply for the permanent position,” but said she will first “need to gauge my success at overcoming budgetary obstacles in the next few months.”

Bonneville has been principal of South Hadley High School since 2012 and is superintendent-certified. She has a doctoral degree in educational research, policy and administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. As acting superintendent, Bonneville will be tasked with all regular superintendent duties, as well as conducting an independent financial audit of the district.

Elizabeth Wood, the high school’s director of Guidance & Counseling Services, will serve as interim principal of the high school in Bonneville’s absence.

Young announced on Nov. 26 that he would leave the superintendent position on Dec. 2, though he will remain on the district’s payroll until March 5 due to unused vacation days. In a letter to the School Committee, Young cited acceptance into “a rigorous graduate program that starts in a few weeks” as his reason for retiring from the role.

Aside from this leadership change, the school district also faces a $950,000 funding gap in the current fiscal year, which led Town Meeting voters to allocate $66,438 to partially compensate for this shortfall at a November special Town Meeting. Young has said he expects the problem to worsen in the future.

At the School Committee meeting, Bonneville and committee members highlighted the superintendent search as an opportunity for a new beginning.

School Committee Chairman Kyle Belanger acknowledged “the process won’t be quick or easy,” but said that he remains dedicated and hopeful as the committee carries out the search.

“What begins tonight is a fresh start and a unique opportunity to renew that which we do,” Belanger said.

Bonneville expressed a similar view.

“We work with some tremendous teachers and faculty and really caring parents, and I’m really looking forward to digging in and doing the hard work that’s needed,” she said at the meeting. “And I realize that it’s not going to be an easy road, but working collaboratively I think we’re going to do great things.”

South Hadley Education Association President Scott Beaulieu, who was also in attendance at the meeting, called the district’s situation an “extremely hard budgetary and leadership crisis.”

“Sadly, our district should not be in this situation,” Beaulieu said. “We are ready to help give South Hadley students, teaching professionals and community the schools they deserve and to work side by side with the School Committee to … build a school system we can all be proud of.”

The School Committee was set to further discuss the superintendent search at a Monday, Dec. 9 meeting at 6 p.m. in the South Hadley High School Library.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at 

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