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Kudos to the School Committee

Kudos to the school committee.

I disagree with Diane Nadeau's most recent criticism of the school committee. I applaud the committee for their wise and assertive decision to hire Jahn Hart as Superintendent of the Longmeadow Public Schools.

Diane and I do agree on one important thing that Jahn will do an exemplary job. Jahn is not only an outstanding educator and administrator; she is an outstanding individual and a model of professionalism. Our town is lucky to have her as our new Superintendent of schools.

Regarding the process. It is always amusing the way the school committee is criticized when they do make decisions, when they don't make decisions, and for everything in between. Here we have an example of the school committee recognizing a "good thing," making a decision, and moving forward. Far too often committees don't do this. They become stymied by the process, unable to move ahead in an efficient manner. In this instance the committee had all the information they needed to make an informed and timely decision after an excellent debate in open session.

If Jahn were a new employee, Diane's "wait and see" approach would be prudent. But Jahn has already proven herself during her nearly 10 years as Assistant Superintendent of the Longmeadow Public Schools. She has worked closely with almost every member of the current school committee. The committee is aware of her abilities and her commitment to education. In fact, individual members who are often philosophically opposed on many issues agreed on the decision to hire Jahn. This is a rare phenomenon, one worthy of recognition, and frankly, a tribute to Jahn.

The school committee's decision not to waste time hiring Jahn was important for another reason. The school department has recently been in a constant state of flux. We have had incredible turn over in staff due to some retirements, but many unfortunate resignations, as well as changes resulting from the charter (which has been a major disappointment to many in town but a story for another day). What we desperately need in our school administration is stability, and the school committee knows this. Not only does Jahn provide this stability, she also possesses the critical skills, knowledge and professional experience.

Finally, I can assure folks that there was no "plan" or covert operation to dupe the public and slide Jahn into the position. The meeting was not televised because there was a scheduling conflict with the selectboard meeting. As unfortunate as this was, the boards had to continue with their business.

So.congratulations to Jahn and to the school committee for the best decision they have made in recent history. I know I speak for many when I say that I am extremely hopeful about the direction of schools for the first time in years.

Now let's get out there and fund our schools! It's time.

Jessica R. Hutchins