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School Committee seeks better communication

Date: 1/17/2014

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD – The first order of business in 2014 for the School?Committee was to scrutinize the work of the Westfield Public Schools superintendent.

On Jan. 13, at the first regular meeting of the year, the Westfield School Committee reviewed its evaluation of Superintendent Suzanne Scallion, elected its officers and recognized the Westfield High School gymnastics team for its achievements.

“Communication at all levels could be improved,” Mayor Daniel Knapik, chair of the School Committee said, summarizing the evaluation comments of the other committee members. “We’re generally very pleased with where we’re going.”

Committee member Cindy Sullivan clarified the need for better communication between the superintendent and the committee members, “You [should] give yourself credit for the work you’re doing.”

Sullivan said that many times the superintendent and her office are aware, but that the information is not passed on to the committee members, making it difficult for them to answer questions from residents. Sullivan described the multi-page review form as “comprehensive.”

Knapik will remain chairperson of the School Committee; Sullivan will serve as vice chairperson and Ramon Diaz as secretary.

Kevin Sullivan will chair the Finance subcommittee and serve as the liaison to Westfield State University. Diaz will serve as chair of the Educational Planning & Technology subcommittee, William Duval will chair the Instruction & Curriculum subcommittee and Diane Mayhew will chair the Human Resources & Policy subcommittee.

The committee recognized the Bombers gymnastics team and coach Joanne Hewins for 125 wins and seven consecutive West Sectional Championships. The 2013-14 season is the last year Hewins will coach the team.

Kevin Sullivan told Hewins she will be “sorely missed.”

Mayhew said, “Thank you Joanne for 20 years of dedication and devotion.”