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Your Tewksbury Today

Applications Sought To Fill Vacancy On Tewksbury School Committee

Aug 16, 2019 02:15PM ● By Bill Gilman

Tewksbury Public Schools

School Committee Chairman Keith Sullivan

  The vacancy on the Tewksbury School Committee, created sudden resignation of Chairman Dennis Francis, will be filled on an interim basis next month.
The School Committee and Board of Selectmen will meet in joint session (date still to be determined) to interview candidates and vote on Francis' successor. The person selected will serve through the April 2020 Town Election, at which time voters will choose a candidate to serve out the remainder of Francis' term, which expires in 2021.

Town officials released the following information regarding the application process for those interested in the interim School Committee position:

A completed application is required for consideration for the vacated seat on the Tewksbury School Committee, which expires on April 4, 2020.

All applications should be emailed to Teresa Belanger at tbelanger@tewksbury-ma.gov 

Applications may also be mailed or hand-delivered to:

Town Hall
1009 Main Street, 2nd Floor
Tewksbury, MA  01876
Attn: Teresa Belanger

DEADLINE:

Applications for the remainder of the term must be received by August 30, 2019 by 12 p.m.

All applicants should be available to attend a joint meeting of the School Committee and the Board of Selectmen on either the evening of September 9th or 12th; or at a later date to be determined

The resignation of Francis was announced with a one-sentence statement by School Superintendent Christopher Malone at the start of a special reorganization meeting of the School Committee on July 24.

"I'd like to announce that Mr. Dennis Francis has resigned his position on the Tewksbury School Committee effective today," said Malone.

In a series of votes that followed, Keith Sullivan was chosen to replace Francis as chairman of the committee. Jamey Cutelis was voted vice-chair and Shannon Demos was voted clerk.

"i certainly look forward to serving the residents in the position of chairman, as thoughtfully and diligently as not only my predecessor but the predecessor to Dennis, who both served greatly on this committee," said Sullivan.

No reason was given by Malone for Francis' resignation. When contacted, Francis declined to comment on his decision.

Francis has been a powerful influence within the Tewksbury Public Schools for two decades. He was active in multiple Parent Advisory Committees (PACs) before being elected to the School Committee in 2009. He was elected to a fourth term in 2018 and was chosen by the committee to serve as chairman in April, succeeding Krissy Polimeno. He served on the Tewksbury High School Building Committee and has been a driving force on the current Elementary School Building Committee.
In his first action as chairman, Sullivan praised Francis and noted the long-term positive impact he will have on the Tewksbury Schools.

"On behalf of the School Committee and administration, both past and present, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Francis for his over 20 years of dedicated service to the Tewksbury Public School System," said Sullivan. "Whether it was starting, over 20 years ago, in his work in the PACs, or most recently, the last decade he has served on the School Committee. Dennis (is) an honorable and decent man. He always did what was best for our students.
"His commitment, to not only lowering the classroom sizes to under 25, but his tireless work on not only this high school building committee but also the most recent elementary school, will have a long-lasting impact on our community and will only help improve achievement throughout the district."

The last time the School Committee and Board of Selectmen met in joint session to choose an interim school committee member was 2015, when a vacancy was created by the resignation of Lisa Puccia. That process proved rather contentious, requiring multiple votes before Jayne Wellman Miller got the five votes needed to win the seat. Wellman Miller now serves on the Board of Selectmen. Among the other candidates up for consideration in 2015 were Sullivan and Arthy Bennett, who went on to win a seat on the School Committee in 2016.


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