New superintendent, elementary school principal for Hampshire Regional School District 

  • Aaron Osborne

  • Aaron Osborne, superintendent of Hampshire Regional School District in his office at Hampshire Regional. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/22/2018 9:49:33 PM

Like an orchestra conductor, Hampshire Regional School District’s new Superintendent Aaron Osborne has the task of getting all the different instruments of his ensemble to play together in concert.

To do that, Osborne said he wants to get School Committee members and town officials from the six towns in the district in open communication so that he can develop a strategic, five-year plan to help each town reach their educational goals. He plans to gather performance, assessment, budgeting and enrollment data for all schools in the district as he begins his first year.

“I’m incredibly excited about the upcoming school year and getting to know people, the towns and families,” Osborne said. “Each community is a unique entity with different management needs, goals and expectations … I want to develop our common visions for where we are going into the future.”

The school district serves Westhampton, Southampton, Chesterfield, Williamsburg, Goshen and Worthington.

Osborne was named the district’s new superintendent this past spring and previously worked as business manager for Palmer public schools. He is replacing Craig Jurgensen after nine years at the helm.

“It’s important to recognize that every one of our schools has its own separate budget, and balancing out the different needs of each school district to follow through on the strategic plans we are looking to put forward.”

High school

Senior students at the Hampshire Regional High School will discover an opportunity to earn new privileges this upcoming academic year.

School Principal Kristen Smidy, said “revamped” senior privileges will be tied to academic performance and attendance.

“I think students will find them enticing and motivating to perform well so they can access those privileges,” Smidy said.

One new privilege will give eligible seniors the ability to leave the school’s campus during their lunch period if they have study block during their third or fourth period, according to the principal.

Since the school has a rotating schedule, this means that any eligible student with a study block will be able to take advantage of this privilege, she said.

“Students will be allowed to leave the building during their lunch where it’s alongside study hall,” Smidy said. “It gives flexibility and trust and it allows them to leave with permission.”

Smidy also mentioned an expansion to student support services at the high school. This year, the school is adding another adjustment councilor to increase mental health support for students.

“Today students are under a tremendous amount of pressure and schools are charged with making sure students are supported academically, mentally, and emotionally,” Smidy said. “We want to make sure that we have someone that can provide the skills to deal with anxiety and depression. We want to make sure we have the proper support.”

New Hingham Elementary

Jesse McMillan is among the youngest school administrators in the state at the age of 26, but his background and experience has recently earned him the position of principal for New Hingham Elementary.

Having taught high school English in Springfield and at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield, served on the Hampshire Regional School Committee, and earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in education, McMillan said he always hoped to become an administrator.

“I knew this was my dream job,” said McMillan, who began on July 1. “Meeting with staff and students, one thing that was very clear to me is that needs and desires have to be heard for us to work together.”

He said that his focus at the start of the new school year is engaging with families and school community to map out goals in moving forward.

“This is a school in our local community where families know the doors are open,” McMillan said. “Our job is to serve the community and teach kids, and the only way to do that effectively is to create meaningful partnerships.”

A back to school barbecue is in the works but a date is to be determined, he said. The first day of school for all students is Aug. 30.

Luis Fieldman can be reached at


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