The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 27, 2004


Carlisle School Committee interviews three Superintendent finalists

all photos by Cynthia Sorn

For the full length report from each candidate interview, see link after each interview.

Marie Doyle
Marie Doyle, Principal of Bigelow Middle School

Candidate background

Marie Doyle has served the city of Newton as principal of the Bigelow Middle School since 1995. In 2003 Bigelow was named a Massachusetts Vanguard Model School. Previously Doyle served the town of Foxborough as a curriculum specialist and taught grades five through eight in Belmont and Lowell. Doyle is pursuing doctoral level studies at the University of Massachusetts and Harvard University. During her tenure in Newton she has chaired the professional development team, respect for human differences team, literacy committee and assessment committee.

School Committee interview

Why you would like to be the Superintendent of Schools in our district?

"Carlisle is an outstanding school system," Doyle replied, noting high academic expectations and the supportive community. "I am very interested in the pre-kindergarten through eighth grade system. I love the younger age group." Doyle said, "I am a strong educational leader" who likes to think out of the box, she said. She said she can bring excitement and enthusiasm to the Carlisle School. "I believe in inclusive schools, and helping kids reach their full potential."

What is your vision for a high- performing school?

Doyle said she would like all students to love to learn, and love to come to school. "That's the challenge," she said. "What would the school look like?" she mused. "Today I saw a high-performing school," she said, and was impressed by the parent involvement. "The Native American project was phenomenal."

Questions from the audience

Do you have concerns regarding special education costs?

"There are a lot of community concerns about special education," Doyle replied. "We have to maximize every dollar. But, no, I don't have concerns," she continued. "Co-teaching benefits all students." Children gain from having other professionals in the classrooms, she explained. An aide in the classroom, there to assist special education students, is a resource for all other students as well, she said.

Where do the arts fall in the priority list?

"Arts are extremely important, right after reading, writing, and math," she replied. "Systems should do their best to preserve those experiences." When she was given the option to make cuts at her school, she chose to not cut any of the arts program.

How much contact would you expect to have with students each day?

"I would walk through every day, a minimum of an hour each day."

How would you encourage the gifted learner?

Doyle said she would like assignments and projects to be "open-ended," leaving room for those that want to expand their work.

click for For the full length report
Richard Bergeron
Richard Bergeron, Superintendent/Principal in Boxborough

Candidate background

Richard Bergeron has served the town of Boxborough as superintendent/principal of the Blanchard Memorial School since 1990. Previously he served as principal and third-, fourth- and fifth- grade teacher in Chelmsford. Bergeron received his doctorate in educational leadership from Boston College. During the time of his leadership in Boxborough, the school received recognition as a Commonwealth Blue Ribbon School. He also led a successful effort to renovate and enlarge the school within budget and on time.

Questions from the audience

In response to a question about Carlisle's challenges, Bergeron expressed concern about the infrastructure of the school and lack of growth space. He explained how a major building project was handled at his school. "We made our building project part of our curriculum," he said, explaining that the expansion project, which finished on time and within budget, was tied into the students' everyday learning. "School was going on during the project," he said, so to be successful "you must have a committed staff and parents."

Asked what impressed him during his day-long visit to the Carlisle School, he said, "I listened to the band. The children are fantastic; the staff is fantastic. The only issue I've seen is the infrastructure."

School Committee interview

Could you tell us how our system either compares with or differs from the school where you are now working?

In Carlisle, he said, "I found caring teachers, involved parents, and a high-performing district," which is similar to Boxborough. The visit validated his choice to seek the position, he continued. "I felt very quickly not only welcomed, but a part of the school." Though his school is K through 6, there are very few differences between the school systems, he concluded.

What is your vision for a high- performing school?

"My vision of a high- performing school is that all students succeed." He would like to see a school that looks to provide learning — academic and social — for all students. "Every child feels adults know each one personally" in a high-performing school, he said, "and can coach and support them, and recognize individual potential. We will take time to know each student." He said instruction should be modified to meet individual needs. There are more technological opportunities in Boxborough and he would increase the technology available. The community needs to be involved, he added.

Questions from the audience

What do you see as the role of parents?

The involvement is appreciated, Bergeron responded. He said there are 180 scheduled parent volunteers who visit weekly at his school.

How often do you interact with students?

"If it were up to me, all day," he replied.

click for For the full length report
Thomas Scott
Thomas Scott, Superintendent of K-8 Shirley School

Candidate background

Thomas Scott has served as superintendent of the K-8 Shirley School system since 1994. Previously he served as director of special education in New Hampshire, school psychologist in Methuen, and mathematics coordinator and fifth/sixth grade math teacher in Sherman Oaks, California. He received the doctor of education degree from Boston College. During his tenure in Shirley, a new middle school was constructed; community and parent participation was increased; the preschool program was expanded; a full- day kindergarten program was implemented; Spanish language was introduced in all grade levels; and the number of competitive grants received by the district was tripled.

School Committee interview

Why would you like to be the Superintendent of Schools in our district?

I was impressed with the vision statement. Carlisle is a world-class school with extraordinarily high standards and expectations. It is a great chance to increase professional experience.

I have had a diverse background. I have taught in both large and small schools, and been a superintendent, a director of special education and a school psychologist. I feel that with the breadth of my experience I have a lot to offer.

What is your vision for a high performing school?

My vision is to have a world-class district. You set your sights higher than and beyond the state. It is important to look for direction from places such as Singapore math and other strategies used for teacher preparation. One must work hard to give the teachers time to work together. I was really excited to see Systems Thinking in the learning process and curriculum.

Questions from the audience

How did you start the Spanish language program?

You set your priorities and then build a budget on them. Kids learn more easily when young. It was hard to hire a good teacher so I found a woman who is a native of Colombia. It becomes a cultural experience for the children.

How do you feel about programs for talented and gifted students?

I am not an advocate of a separate program for gifted and talented students. All the children should be exposed so all will benefit. The adventure should be for the whole school.

How much time do you spend interacting with the children during the day?

I interact a lot. I will walk through the classrooms and buildings all the time. Even though the time spent seems short, over time you will get a clear picture of the situation.

Any last thing you want to say?

I am passionate about education. I am excited about it. My parents came from Ireland with a sixth-grade education. They had five children, all of whom went to college. My mother could recite Shakespeare. We all had music lessons. The value of education was there. I want to give that opportunity to every child.

click for For the full length report

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito