Hampshire Regional superintendent won’t seek contract extension

  • Aaron Osborne, superintendent of Hampshire Regional School District, at Hampshire Regional High School.  GAZETTE FILE PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 11/18/2019 11:27:13 PM

WESTHAMPTON — Amid widespread dissatisfaction with his leadership among faculty and staff in the middle and high school, Hampshire Regional Superintendent Aaron Osborne has announced he won’t seek an extension of his contract.

On Thursday, the Hampshire Regional School Committee accepted the decision in a vote in executive session. Osborne’s contract is set to expire on June 30, 2021. Osborne was hired in the spring of 2018.

Hampshire Regional High School houses the district’s middle school and high school. Osborne’s decision not to seek an extension of his contract comes after 96 faculty and staff members voted no confidence in his leadership, with five abstention votes cast. There were no votes of confidence in his leadership.

Collectively, the vote represented around 91 percent of the non-district faculty and staff in the regional building, according to a letter drafted by William Broaddus, president of the Hampshire Regional Education Association, on behalf of the faculty and staff. The association is a union that represents teachers and other staff in the regional building.

Faculty and staff in the regional building also submitted a letter explaining the vote to the School Committee, attached to which were a number of anonymous accusations against Osborne. The letter itself alleges that Osborne has created a “toxic work environment,” and references a dispute between Osborne and Hampshire Regional High School Principal Kristen Smidy.

In the same confidence vote Osborne was subjected to, Smidy received 95 votes of confidence, to two votes of no confidence and two abstentions.

Osborne has received support from elsewhere in the district. Jesse McMillan, principal of New Hingham Regional Elementary School in Chesterfield, submitted a statement supporting Osborne to the Hampshire Regional School Committee, while the Chesterfield-Goshen Regional School Committee passed a vote of confidence in Osborne.

Carl Schlerman, chairman of the Hampshire Regional School Committee, wrote in an email that the committee is not scheduling a meeting to hear charges and complaints against Osborne.

The Hampshire Regional School Committee will convene at 5 p.m. at a meeting of the Southampton School Committee on Tuesday at the William E. Norris School. As part of the Hampshire Regional School Committee’s meeting, the superintendent’s performance will be discussed.

Osborne did not respond to calls seeking comment Monday.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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