It’s been quite an ordeal, but finally teachers, administrators, students and yes, those of us that just want the best for our children, now know who will lead our school district for at least the next three years.
Stacy Scott comes to us with a very interesting resume, and although he may not be your basic work-your-way-to-the-top administrator. he brings with him a very diverse background and the hope of change.
For a district that has been mired in controversy since the end of Elaine Espindle’s 10-year stay as superintendent, the hiring marks what should be the beginning of a very positive time, and an opportunity to change the culture and the image of the schools.
During his career, Scott has demonstrated an ability to lead in both the public and private sectors. In addition to classroom teaching, he also has been a clinical psychologist, a management consultant for education, nonprofits and corporations, and an associate superintendent of a very large school district in Montgomery County, Maryland.
And yes, Maryland is where we found Dennis Piendak, our current town manager. But don’t expect a similar style. They are very different personalities.
Scott does however have one thing in common with our town manager.
Like Piendak, he comes to town free of any connections to Dracut political groups, and that is always a good way to start.
Now to be fair, there are questions.
Some wonder why a guy that makes $250,000 a year would apply for a job in Dracut where he will get $100,000 less.
Does he, as still others suggest, just need the title of superintendent to be able to make the jump to a much larger district?
And how will he deal with the limited resources in Dracut after working in the huge district in Montgomery County.
Time will give us the answers to these questions, but no school district would look to hire a superintendent from Dracut unless that person has demonstrated an ability to succeed at this level.
Another key factor in this new day in Dracut education will be the willingness of the School Committee to stand back and let its new superintendent apply his skills.
Very much like the role the Board of Selectmen plays with the town manager, the School Committee must set policy and allow the superintendent to run the show. It’s not always easy to resist micro-managing, but this committee has brought credibility back to the schools with the open and transparent way it went about the hiring process, and will likely continue its wave of success by supporting Scott in his day-to-day management of the schools.
Warren Shaw is a former Dracut selectman who hosts a popular Saturday morning radio show on WCAP-AM from 6 to10.