Skip to main content

Your Tewksbury Today

O'Connor Prepares To Step Down After Six Years As Superintendent

Jun 23, 2016 12:54PM ● By Bill Gilman

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John O'Connor and his wife.

While history will determine if the tenure of Dr. John O'Connor as Tewksbury Superintendent of Schools has been successful, there is no denying it has been eventful.
There was the construction and opening of the new Tewksbury Memorial High School and the start of the process to build a new elementary school. There was the re-alignment of grades in the elementary schools and a gradual reduction in class size. There was controversy over leaked private information and a public feud with a group of Special Education parents.There were state championships in multiple sports, the establishment of All-Day Kindergarten, and the introduction of PARCC testing and Common Core.
Next week, O'Connor will step down after six years and says Tewksbury is the final stop in an education career that has spanned nearly four decades. At his final School Committee meeting on June 15, O'Connor was honored for his contributions to the district.
"You are a true role model for those who go above and beyond," said School Committee Chair Krissy Polimeno, who has been a staunch supporter of O'Connor over the years. "We have achieved many great things under your leadership."
Included among the achievements cited by Polimeno were two successful rounds of contract negotiations with the teachers union, improved chain of communication and the implementation of student and staff recognitions at School Committee meetings.
O'Connor said he felt uncomfortable taking credit for any of the accomplishments, as much of the work was done by others.
"I've always felt that as a superintendent, my job was to plant the seeds and then get out of the way," he said. "It's the teachers in this district, the staff, that really make this district. It's been a pleasure to be here for these six years."
Committee members Brian Dick and Jamey Cutelis, praised O'Connor for his character and comportment.
"You've been a consummate professional in the five or six years I've worked with you," said Cutelis.
"You've always been a gentleman," added Dick. "You've stayed consistent and strong in all your decisions. You've carved a reputation in a granite foundation."
Committee member Dennis Francis said one of his most lasting memories will be how committed O'Connor has been to Tewksbury and how much he wanted to work in the town. According to Francis, after Tewksbury offered O'Connor the job of superintendent, the town of Beverly also offered O'Connor the top job in its district at a notably higher salary. But O'Connor chose Tewksbury.
"He has always thought of children first," said Francis.
Arthy Bennett, the newest school committee member, praised O'Connor for his strong support of the Tewksbury Education Foundation, a group Bennett has worked with for several years.
"It's been a great six years," said O'Connor. "I want to thank the community that has been so supportive."
O'Connor's final day will be June 30. New Superintendent of Schools Christopher Malone will report for work on July 1.


Public Reception For Incoming Superintendent Of Schools On Wednesday

Follow us on Facebook at Follow us on Twitter at @TewksburyToday Follow us on Instagram at YourTewksburyToday