All titles are not created equally

In Massachusetts, the title of Assistant, Associate, or Deputy Superintendent actually means something. To hold one of these titles requires you to have a specific license from the state, and appointment to such a post requires approval of the local school committee, just as a Superintendent's position does. That means these candidates must pass a more rigorous process in order to be hired. Their salary is also determined by the school committee.

Two of the three finalists for the Superintendent post for the Acton-Boxborough schools have one of these titles and one, Marie Altieri, does not.

At the January 4, 2007 meeting of the School Committee, School Superintendent Bill Ryan announced the new position as a replacement for George Frost. "[Ryan] noted that we will be advertising for a Director of Personnel and Administrative Services, a replacement for Deputy Superintendent George Frost."

Shortly after making that announcement, School Committee member Marie Altieri resigned her seat which led to a special election to fill the remainder of her term.

Four months later, Ryan announced that he had filled the Director position by hiring Altieri. Ryan announced the appointment of Altieri at the May 3, 2007 School Committee meeting and there was no confirmation vote.

By reclassifying the position from a Superintendent-level to a Director-level, Ryan sidestepped an open approval process and oversight by the School Committee. He avoided the need for a state-approved Assistant Superintendent's license or a public school committee vote. Ryan was also able to waive the posted requirement for a Master's degree without public explanation. He was able to control the search, which was not public, and had final authority for the selection.

At the time of her appointment in 2007, Altieri lacked any supervisory or administrative experience in public education, not counting her experience as a school committee volunteer for seven years.

Article continues. For full article, see http://www.actonforum.com/blogs/allenn/all-titles-are-not-created-equally

For Parts One and Two, see www.ActonForum.com. In Part One, we review Altieri's lack of a Master's degree, how the School Committee left off that requirement for this year's Superintendent search after requiring it in the last search, and how virtually every other Massachusetts Superintendent's search requires this minimum level of education, while most prefer candidates with a Ph.D.

In Part Two, we look back to 2007 at how Altieri first got appointed to her position after previously supervising Superintendent Bill Ryan when she was a member and Chair of the school committee.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Allen Nitschelm January 22, 2014 at 06:12 PM
We will be posting the organization chart for the AB school leadership to this article on Acton Forum. It clearly shows the chain of command and which administrators have direct-line supervision over important school functions and which do not.


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