SCHOOL COMMITTEE RACE: Bjork Discusses DeLai Departure, Next Superintendent

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple recently asked all six Wilmington School Committee candidates to describe their ideal superintendent candidate. Candidates were also asked to share their feelings about the School Committee’s handling of former Superintendent Mary DeLai’s resignation.

This week’s response schedule is as follows: Rhonda Musikar-Rosner (Monday), Amy Largenton (Tuesday), Sabrina Hewitt (Wednesday), Jennifer Bryson (Thursday), Steve Bjork (Friday), Kathleen O’Donoghue (Saturday), and a recap (Sunday).

Below is the response from candidate Steve Bjork.

Steve Bjork

QUESTION: One of the School Committee’s most important roles — arguably its most important — is hiring and evaluating the Superintendent. (1) Looking back, to address the elephant in the room, how do you feel the School Committee handled the resignation of former Superintendent Mary DeLai? (2) Looking forward, what qualities are you looking for in the next Superintendent? Describe your ideal candidate.

ANSWER: I appreciate the opportunity to address this question, though I am legally prohibited from speaking about any specifics regarding the executive session that resulted in the separation between the School Committee and our former Superintendent.

For the record, let me start off by saying that, on principal, I am categorically opposed to paying any employee for services not rendered. So, I understand why there has been criticism levied against the School Committee. Were I on the outside, I might have questions too. However, the public should know that the School Committee spent more than three hours in that executive session, with our legal counsel present and advising. I promise, we were not having a dinner party.

The School Committee is comprised of seven people – seven able, well-meaning community members. I have great respect for every one of my colleagues. Not a single member garners any financial or political advantage for their service. I can genuinely, and without hesitation, say that every one of us has the students, the taxpayers, and the faculty in mind – and in that order – with every decision we make and with every vote we take.

Your School Committee served the community well in that executive session, and will continue to serve to best of its ability.

I am very much looking forward to appointing Wilmington’s next permanent Superintendent. My colleagues and I are currently in the process of reviewing resumes and selecting finalists. If we don’t find the perfect fit within the candidates we currently have, we will start the process all over again to ensure that the job is done correctly..

While there is a myriad of criteria we are seeking, first and foremost, we are looking for a qualified individual who has experience teaching in the classroom. While the position of Superintendent is an administrative role, we understand that knowing firsthand the challenges facing teachers is crucial.

An ideal candidate will also have central office experience, and experience with district-wide budgeting.

Finding those, and other, qualifications on a resume is simply the first step. The intangibles that cannot be gleaned from a resume is equally important. We need a Superintendent who will continue to foster the mutual respect and strong working relationship between Schools and Town that Wilmington has historically enjoyed. Furthermore, we seek a Superintendent who will create a culture of camaraderie and collaboration within the district.

As we continue in the selection process, I welcome input from parents, community members, and faculty of Wilmington Public Schools. I can be reached at stephen.bjork@wpsk12.com.

Steve Bjork
Stephen Bjork

(NOTE: Photo provided by Steve Bjork, taken by Maureen Lamoureux.)

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