LOWELL — The newly appointed Lowell Public Schools Superintendent, Joel Boyd, will make $225,000 per year following a contract approval by the School Committee on Wednesday.
The contract, set to extend five years, was approved by a vote of 5-1, with School Committee member Dominik Lay the lone vote cast against the agreement.
After the contract was signed in the City Council Chamber, Boyd addressed the committee, saying he and his wife are looking forward to making Lowell their home. He added the goal of the contract is longevity.
"I truly believe this school district can be a model for the state and the country," Boyd said. "But it's not going to be a one-year job. It's not going to be a two- or three-year job. I'm here and I'm committed to being here for the ups and downs over a long period of time and I hope that this is the first contract I'm signing with this school committee and this city, because I plan to be here until Lowell is the best school district in the country."
With Wednesday's contract vote, Lay turned to Boyd, who sat in the City Council Chamber's gallery space. Lay told the new superintendent that his vote against the contract was nothing personal. The school district had never had a contract at this level and it was, "almost too good to be true if you are on the receiving end," Lay said.
Lay explained after the meeting he wanted an annual contract of $200,000 a year, which he said matched the district's budget. Lay also would have preferred a contract that was only two or three years in length, at least early on in the contract's life.
"Dr. Boyd killed it at the interview, I just feel he hasn't proven much in Lowell yet," Lay said.
In the job listing, the contract posted was between $200,000 to $225,000, Mayor Bill Samaras pointed out after Wednesday's meeting. Samaras, who expressed surprise by Lay's vote against the contract agreement, said he did not anticipate getting a superintendent candidate of Boyd's caliber.
In addition, Samaras felt the five-year contract would help ensure the time necessary to match Boyd's vision for the district.
Despite Lay's questions, the remaining School Committee members expressed excitement for the future.
"I think what I've seen this year for the first time is that Lowell is finally not cheap," School Committee member Bob Hoey said during the meeting. "We picked the right person and I never felt more confident that Lowell is going to move forward real quickly."
According to the contract, subject to Boyd's annual evaluation, the superintendent will be eligible for an additional 1% adjustment to his annual compensation if his performance is unanimously rated exemplary. The School Committee will also pay $5,000 each year of the agreement to an annuity plan.
Boyd, who grew up in Dover, Delaware, was formerly superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools from 2012 to 2016. The 40-year-old also worked in the School District of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Miami, Lehigh Valley Academy in Pennsylvania and Smyrna School District in Delaware. Boyd's roles included science teacher, principal and assistant superintendent.
Boyd was selected as the district's new superintendent after an hours-long special meeting last month. He was chosen unanimously by the School Committee over other finalists Sergio Paez and Stacy Scott.
The three candidates were named finalists from a pool of 23 candidates by a Superintendent Blue Ribbon Commission.
"I think having gone through the Blue Ribbon Commission process, as well as this interview process, I really think Dr. Boyd had a real understanding of where our district is at and some inspiring ideas of how we can move forward," School Committee member and Blue Ribbon panel chair Connie Martin said moments after last month's decision.
School Committee member Gary Nutter was not at Wednesday night's meeting. He was out of state dealing with a family matter, Samaras said.