GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 16, 2013

Schools shifting Veterans' principal

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — Veterans’ Memorial School’s principal will step down from the elementary’s helm at the close of the school year to fill a new position as a curriculum coordinator for the district.

Before shifting to the newly created position, the contracted Principal Cherylann Parker will finish off her sixth year as principal of the school, which has often struggled with low state test scores.

”I’ve really loved my years at Vets. It’s a great community, and a wonderful staff. I am leaving for the next phase in my career which is to do some curriculum coordinator work at the administrative level,” Parker said.

The school district assigned Parker to the new position and began advertising the vacancy at Veterans’ this week, School Committee Chairman Jonathan Pope said Friday. The new position will pay a salary that Pope said was about the same amount as the principal position that she holds now, at around $80,000 to $90,000.

The School Committee budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, has yet to be approved, but asks for two or three more positions in addition to the one Parker will fill. The committee will hold its public hearing on that budget in early April, then seek city council approval for it.

Superintendent Richard Safier is accepting applications until April 2 for the principal position Parker will vacate at the close of the school year, according to a notice of position vacancy posted on the district website this week. Safier will negotiate the new principal’s salary, according to the document that does not list a possible salary range.

Safier did not return calls for comment Friday.

Pope said the School Committee is still working to define the responsibilities that they will associated with the new job, but with the state asking for more data assessment information, preparing to offer state exams in an electronic format and upping curriculum requirements, plenty of tasks present themselves.

”Basically it’s like a half wheel with a harp,” he said, “and all of these spokes and practically any of these things would be a major undertaking.”

Pope said the School Committee would also like to implement an attendance office for the district. Veterans’ School, he noted, would especially benefit from that change, with half of the school’s students having missed 10 or more days last year, he said.

”With some of the changes that we are trying to implement at Veterans’,” Pope added, “there’s basically a lot of challenges there and we’re trying to do the best we can to pull that school up.” He also commended Parker’s work at Veterans’ and said her Master Teacher certification and her skills meld well with the curriculum coordinator position.

”She’s done a great job,” he said of Parker, who has been partially disabled since sustaining serious injuries in a 2010 fall from a horse. “She’s really a trooper and she’s really hung in there,” he said.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.