The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 24, 2007


Carlisle Principal Graseck resigns; James Halliday hired as interim

Carlisle Middle School Principal Paul Graseck has submitted his resignation. In a memo to the school community and staff dated August 2, Superintendent Marie Doyle announced both the resignation and that retired educator James Halliday has been hired as an interim principal.

In his resignation letter to Superintendent Doyle, dated July 20, Graseck wrote, "Having spent a remarkable year in the Carlisle school system, I wish to inform you formally of what you already know, that I plan to leave Carlisle sometime in August to assume a unique position in educational leadership in Providence, Rhode Island." Graseck's wife works in Providence, at Brown University, and he adds, "Needless to say, she and I are delighted that our domestic life will be more focused on a single locale."

Graseck described his new job, "I will be a high school planning consultant, overseeing the birth of a new charter school, grades 9-12. This position will allow me to work with an education committee to design a curriculum from the ground up and to think creatively about its implementation, culminating in the development of a process for hiring the anticipated school's faculty. In this capacity, I will be traveling to other schools to consider their curriculum models, immersing myself in education research, and shaping the values structure of the new high school. This is an opportunity for me to apply many of the skills I have developed over my career."

Interim hired before resignation announced

Carlisle Teachers Association President Michael Miller said that as far as he knew, Carlisle teachers were not involved in the hiring process. Miller said rumors about Graseck resigning had been circulating, and he had attempted to contact Doyle to confirm the rumors.

Reached by e-mail just prior to the public announcement on August 2, Doyle explained that she hired the interim with input from Elementary School Principal Patrice Hurley and Director of Student Support Services Karen Slack. Doyle said, "A hiring committee will be used for the permanent principal."

"Given the short amount of time and extremely limited pool of highly qualified interims," she explained, "I needed to recruit and act swiftly. Jim accepted the position yesterday, and we are waiting for Cyd [McCann, the school technology integration specialist,] to send the message to parents. I sent the announcement to staff this a.m." Doyle had been on a trip to Europe, and completed the hiring when she returned.

The Carlisle School Committee (CSC) had been aware of Graseck's resignation. "Marie let us know a couple of weeks ago," said CSC member Dale Ryder, noting Doyle did not want to announce Graseck's resignation until she had a replacement. Ryder added that she believes Halliday is highly qualified. Superintendent Doyle explained that the School Committee "has been fully informed throughout the process. Paul's resignation was confidential until we knew who was replacing him so we could reduce anxiety of staff and parents."

Halliday was an interim in Concord

Halliday served as an interim principal in Concord during 2004 and 2005. In addition, he has worked at the Walsh Middle School in Framingham. "Jim has a wealth of experience having served for 16 years in the Framingham Public Schools prior to his retirement," said Doyle.

Graseck, who spent just a year at Carlisle School, was hired to replace Principal Stephen Goodwin, who resigned in 2006 to become the principal of the Lynch Elementary School in Winchester. Assistant Principal Michael Giurlando resigned the day after Goodwin resigned, accepting a position as assistant principal at the Elmwood Elementary School in Hopkinton.

Halliday introduces himself

In an e-mail sent to parents on August 20, Halliday wrote:

"I am very pleased to have been asked to serve as the interim principal of the middle school for the 2007-2008 school year.

"Having spent my entire professional career in the public schools of eastern Massachusetts, I am very cognizant of the long-standing excellent reputation of the Carlisle Public Schools.

"During my professional career, I taught English and social studies at the middle school level in both Holliston and Framingham prior to serving as a middle school vice-principal in Framingham. My last 16 years in Framingham, I served as the principal of the Walsh Middle School. Since retiring, I have had the opportunity to serve as the interim principal at Concord Middle School for the 2002-2003 school year and the Thoreau Elementary School in Concord for the 2004-2005 school year.

"There are many factors that affect the performance of a school system, but it is universally recognized that the support of the parents for the school system is a critical component. The interest and involvement that parents demonstrate in the education of their children and the consistent encouragement of their children in meeting educational challenges designed by the Carlisle staff is extraordinarily important.

"Carlisle obviously has parents that excel in their support of the school, education, and the encouragement of their children. Such effort contributes to making the Carlisle School System one of the best in the state.

"I am truly looking forward to working with the Carlisle parents and students this school year to assist the staff to make this an enjoyable, interesting, and rewarding year for each student.

"Please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions and/or suggestions."

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito