School Committee discusses superintendent transition process



Interim Superintendent Jim Marini addresses the School Committee regarding the superintendent transition process on March 19.

After a long wait, the search for a new superintendent is at an end.

A public Brookline School Committee (BSC) Workshop took place on Thursday, Mar. 18 to discuss the official signing of Dr. Linus Guillory as incoming superintendent with the goal of making the transition as smooth as possible.

Before the BSC officially voted to unanimously approve the contract of Incoming Superintendent of Schools Dr. Linus Guillory, BSC member Susan Wolf Ditkoff expressed support for those who stood in front of the high school that morning to protest anti-Asian American violence. There was a moment of silence for the victims of the Atlanta shooting.

As part of Guillory’s onboarding, he, in collaboration with the School Committee, will make goals for the district. Although the school system currently has a set of goals listed on their website, BSC member Mariah Nobrega said the current ones could be more specific and concrete.

Although the superintendent will lead the creation of these goals, the School Committee will also advise during the process. Guillory will set these goals in the coming months.

Acting Interim Superintendent Jim Marini said that difficulties may arise with a new superintendent coming into the school system.

“There’s a lot of good will in Brookline,” Marini said. “There’s also high expectations, high standards and a level of frustration when things aren’t going the way we all imagine they should go. The frustration can get us in places where it’s not constructive and we lose that sense of civility.”

Marini said that although issues may naturally arise from the transition, the school committee will help the superintendent handle the work in a sustainable and constructive manner.

“It’s not just a matter of talking about work-life balance,” Marini said. “What is the school committee going to consciously do to actually help the new superintendent have a work-life balance that keeps his mental health sound and yet is responsive to what the requirements are in Brookline?”

BSC member Dimitry Anselme said that Guillory could soon receive a volume of emails that is hard to handle.

“Even as a school committee member, I myself am overwhelmed by the volume of emails that come, and it’s really hard. I know we’ve talked about this as a school committee, but we’ve never resolved or put in a process for how we want to answer. Do we speak with one voice? Do we answer them individually? It’s still not clear,” Anselme said. “I think that would help, having some clear communication protocol in place, and I think that would also help the new superintendent.”

Marini said that the School Committee’s conduct throughout the introduction of a new team would be critical.

“You are like a model for the whole town: how you behave, how you interact, how you talk with each other about programs, about what’s happening in the schools, about whatever, that has an impact on everybody. Everybody else picks up and takes their cue from the school committee,” Marini said.

Although the BSC members and Marini said there could be issues, they also said there was much to look forward to.

“It’s a big task in managing the community at the same time. Brookline has really an unbelievable challenge ahead of it,” Marini said. “But it also has, I think, real hope that next year is going to be the start of the kind of stability the place needs with bright, forward-thinking leadership.”