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School Committee Notebook: New Principals Introduced, New Schools Pitched To State

Mar 19, 2015 05:55PM ● Published by Bill Gilman

New Heath Brook Principal Felicia Wettstone.

Gallery: Tewksbury School Committee meeting March 11, 2015. [8 Images] Click any image to expand.

The Tewksbury School District's newest principals were introduced to the community at a recent School Committee meeting at Tewksbury High School.
Mary "Terry" Gerrish was recently selected to be the new principal for Dewing Elementary School; Felicia Wettstone was selected as the new principal for the Heath Brook School; and Matthew Castonguay was officially introduced as the new principal for the Trahan School.
Committee members signed three-year contracts with each of them at the meeting. Each will officially begin their job on July 1.
Castonguay is a familiar face, as he has been serving as interim principal at the Trahan since the beginning of the year.
"(Castonguay) was a unanimous choice by the selection committee," said Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor.
Wettstone is presently a teacher at the Adams School in the Everett Public School System. 
Gerrish comes to the district with previous administration experience. She is presently the principal at the Berkowitz School in Chelsea.

School Committee formally approves pitch to state for new school funding
Third time is the charm.
That was the theme, as the School Committee took an official vote to submit a Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) regarding reimbursement for costs associated with construction of new elementary schools.
In separate votes, the committee voted to include all four of the Tewksbury elementary schools (all at least 50 years old) in the Statement of Interest as needing to be replaced. However, the Trahan School, which has had significant problems with roof leaks and flooding, was singled out as the "priority school" for the town. The Trahan, in particular, has taken a pounding this winter from ice and snow accumulation.

And speaking of snow and ice ...
According to O'Connor, the School District has spent $136,000 on snow and ice removal, far above what was budgeted. O'Connor said the town has committed $110,000 toward those costs.
"I just want to say 'Thank You' for how much the Town Manager (Richard Montuori) has done for us and how he has looked out for the well-being and safety of our students," he said.

Student population on the decline
New figures indicate the student population for the Tewksbury District is on the decline.
There are presently 3,658 students in the district in grades Pre-K through 12.
The most populous grade is Grade 8 at the Wynn with 336 students. But there are just 312 students in Grade 7 and 298 in Grade 6 at the Ryan School.
The numbers continue to drop in the elementary schools, with 272 in Grade 4, 262 in Grade 2 and 258 in Grade 1.
The numbers can be attributed to many possible factors, including population decline, parents choosing private schools or home schooling.

In other business:
  • Mark Farnham was announced as the new TMHS boys lacrosse coach with a stipend of $5,565.
  • Ryan Smith (1st place), Rosalyn Impink (2nd place) and Amber Kelly (3rd place) were honored for their performance in the Wynn School Geography Bee. 
  • Rosalyn Impink was honored for her participation in the Project 31 program.
  • Lauren Eysallene, Delaney Jackson, Marina Nelson, Jenna Wentworth were honored as winners of the Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying Essay Contest. Alex Sousa was recognized as being an alternate.
The complete Tewksbury School Committee meeting for March 11 can be viewed in the YouTube video below.

 

Tewksbury School Committee, March 11, 2015.

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