School Committee Selects Kidwell as New Superintendent
The School Committee selected Rebecca Kidwell to serve as the new Superintendent of Seekonk Public Schools Monday. The vote was 3 to 2, with Chairperson Meaghan Mahoney, Vice-Chair Kim Sluter, and Emily Field in favor, with Noah Escaler and Kyle Juckett in opposition.
Superintendent Rich Drolet is leaving at the end of June to take over the King Philip Regional School District.
Kidwell is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment & Professional Development of Rockland Public Schools. Kidwell previously served as Director of Technology and Accountability, K – 12, for Braintree Public Schools.
“I think we have three solid candidates,” Sluter said as she made a motion to offer the position to Kidwell. “She seems very well versed in educational topics, she talked a lot about professional development and having exit tickets from those to make it better.”
Sluter also noted that Kidwell had a 10 year plan for the schools and lauded her for vowing to work with Shawn Cadime, the town administrator, and Jill Brilhante, the school business manager: “(Kidwell) has done budgets on a smaller scale but not to this extent. I appreciated that she was acknowledging the talent that we have in our town and district and working closely with them.”
Field was impressed with Kidwell’s focus on curriculum.
“She seems to have a huge background in that,” Field continued. “One area of concern was the evaluation process where she hasn’t really done much with that in the past but I do feel as though when (Kidwell) puts her mind up to something, she will be able to do it and do it successfully.”
The other candidates were Marlene Dileo, the Superintendent of Ware Public Schools, and Rebecca Andrea Schwamb, currently the Assistant Superintendent for the Wareham Public Schools in Wareham, Massachusetts. Schwamb is also an adjunct professor at Bridgewater State University.
Juckett explained his reason for not voting in favor of Kidwell.
“I understand we can’t get a perfect person but at the same rate I’m not interested in settling for what’s there currently,” Juckett said. “We want to get the best person we can for the town of Seekonk.”
“There were comments made specifically with (Kidwell) that I just couldn’t agree with,” Escaler said, noting he felt Kidwell was “energetic” and “articulate.”
Sluter made a motion to reconsider the vote to give all committee members the opportunity to show support for Kidwell. That action drew a strong response from Escaler, who refused to vote again.
“I don’t vote for the sake of argument, to be abrasive, to be the odd man out,” Escaler explained. “I vote with my conscience and why I sit here.”
Escaler did pledge to support Kidwell after she assumes the position, noting she would have to display “leadership qualities.”
Members of the search committee included Town Administrator Shawn Cadime, Mark Davis, Parent Representative-Volunteer (OOD Teacher), Beth Eklund, Parent Representative-Volunteer (Former School Committee Member), Jennifer Boudreau - Teacher, Tammi Miller – Teacher Representative, Diana Siliezar-Shields, Parent Representative-Volunteer, Bridget McNamara, Parent Representative-Volunteer (confidential administrative assistant to the Superintendent and School Committee), Kristin Nelson, Teacher Representative, Danielle Margarida, Parent Representative-Volunteer (School Employee), Zach Waddicor, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Mahoney, and Sluter.
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