New School Superintendent Introduces Improvement Plan

Jun 19, 2012

  A new superintendent has been selected to lead the second largest public school system in Massachusetts.   The next  superintendent of schools in Springfield Massachusetts is a home grown product,  as we hear from WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

        Daniel Warwick, who started his career in education in 1976  as a teacher in the Springfield Public Schools, became a principal, a special education  supervisor, and eventually deputy superintendent, has been picked to be the  troubled urban school districts new chief administrator.

        The Springfield School Committee voted 5 to 2 Monday night to appoint Warwick, after interviewing him and the other finalist, Jesus Jara, the current superintendent of schools in Monroe County, Florida.  The interviews, 75 minutes each, were held in a middle school auditorium, with an audience of about 100 people looking on.

        Warwick , during his final job  interview, outlined  a  five year plan that he said would result in  children graduating from the Springfield Public Schools who are career or college-ready.

        During his interview, Warwick told the school committee that success will hinge on recruiting and retaining staff and implementing the new teacher evaluations, which for the first time are to take student test scores into account.  He also stressed his experience directing efforts over the last two years to turn around some of the city’s worst schools.

        Warwick said he would concentrate on key initiatives that data shows are successful. He said he  hoped to expand  two programs aimed at getting parents more involved with the schools-the parent academy and teacher home visitations.

        Warwick said his detailed familiarity with Springfield and its schools should be counted as an asset, but School Committee member Denise Hurst saw it as a liability.

        The other superintendent finalist, Jesus  Jara,  was a high school principal in Springfield  for two years before taking a job in Florida six years ago.

        School committee vice chair Christopher Collins , who directed the search process said public opinion clearly  favored the candidate with the deepest Springfield roots.

        The current school superintendent, Alan Ingram is leaving at  the end of this month. He chose not to seek to renew his four year contract.  Ingram was an administrator in the Oklahoma City schools when he was hired for the Springfield job.  It was a sore point with many that he  never bought a house in Springfield and  never  moved his family from Oklahoma.