BREAKING: Shawsheen Tech School Committee Divided On Superintendent Vote, Suspends Search

BILLERICA, MA — The Shawsheen Tech School Committee decided to suspend its Superintendent of Schools search on Wednesday night after failing to reach a consensus on any of the four search finalists.

The Committee voted 7-3 to suspend its search after four members — Nancy Asbedian, Robert Gallagher, Robert Peterson, and Lisa Puccia —  chose not to nominate or vote in favor of any finalist, and the remaining members were split between two finalists — Jenna Lesko (Assistant Principal at Shawsheen Tech) and Susan Kustka (former Weymouth Assistant Superintendent).

In separate roll call votes, Lesko received the votes of members Paul Gedick, Jim Gillis, and Glenn McIntyre, while Kustka received the votes of members Ronald Fusco, Paula Lambert and Patricia Meuse. A successful finalist needed to receive six votes.

Several members indicated they were not satisfied with the slate of finalists, which also included Thomas Aubin (former Superintendent at Diman Tech) and Dr. Kelly Fay (Coordinator of Curriculum & Staff Development at Whittier Tech)

“I’m not happy with any of the candidates,” said member Nancy Asbedian. “We need someone special. I can live with a candidate, but I don’t want to settle.”

Three members — Ronald Fusco, Paula Lambert, and Patricia Meuse — did not want to suspend the search.

“My fear is we don’t find qualified candidates moving forward. We had more than one qualified candidate in this search. I don’t want this process to go in circles,” cautioned Lambert. “I don’t think we’re ever going to find the perfect candidate. No one will ever check all the boxes for all of us. There’s 10 of us. I do think we have a qualified candidate, if not two, with this search.”

“I’m afraid the next group of candidates won’t be as near as this good,” echoed Meuse, who chaired the search committee.

“I wanted closure tonight… I don’t want to go back to square one,” added Fusco, who noted the committee will see a turnover of multiple members after upcoming elections in the district’s five respective communities.

Ultimately, the rest of the Committee chose to suspend the search. Next steps will be discussed at a future School Committee Meeting on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

Watch the meeting, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below. Discussion begins around the 16-minute mark. Brief additional discussion takes place around the 43-minute mark.

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