Hampshire Regional leader aims to stay on through June 2021

  • Hampshire Regional School District Superintendent Aaron Osborne is shown during a public interview in April 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 11/19/2019 10:52:27 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — Hampshire Regional School District Superintendent Aaron Osborne intends to stay on in his position until the end of his current contract in June 2021, despite his decision to not seek an extension of the contract.

“At the moment yes,” said Osborne, of his plans to stay on.

Osborne shared this with the Gazette after Tuesday’s joint meeting of the Southampton, Westhampton, Hampshire Regional and Chesterfield-Goshen Regional school committees. Although discussion of the superintendent’s performance was on the agenda, the school committee members chose not to take it up.

Osborne’s decision to not seek an extension of his contract was accepted by the Hampshire Regional School Committee on Thursday, amid a dispute with the faculty and staff of the district’s middle and high school. Osborne was hired in the spring of 2018. His contract expires on June 30, 2021.

Osborne told the Gazette that he will release a statement later on his decision to not seek an extension.

In a vote that concluded on Nov. 4, 96 faculty and staff in the regional building, which houses the middle and high school, voted no confidence in Osborne, while five of the votes were abstentions. No votes of confidence were cast in Osborne’s leadership.

William Broaddus, president of the Hampshire Regional Education Association, which represents faculty and staff in the high school and middle school, drafted a letter on behalf of faculty and staff that said that the vote represents the “opinion of approximately 91 percent of the non-district staff in the regional building.”

Simultaneously, a vote of confidence in Hampshire Regional High School Principal Kristen Smidy was taken, with 95 votes of confidence cast to two abstentions and two votes of no confidence.

A letter from faculty and staff about the vote references a dispute between Smidy and Osborne, while accusing the superintendent of creating a “toxic work environment.” A number of anonymous accusations against Osborne were also attached to the letter.

In response to the news of Osborne’s decision not to seek an extension, Broaddus released the following statement on Monday night.

“The faculty and staff at Hampshire Regional High School appreciate the diligent and thoughtful work done by our school committee regarding this issue. We are thankful that the school committee has shown a willingness and desire to listen and truly understand our concerns. We remain ready to work with them to solve problems that might occur in the future,” the statement reads.

Efforts to reach Broaddus on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

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


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