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Bloodbath at Everett Public Schools


BY JOSH RESNEK 

Crazy and unprecedented happenings littered today’s end of year department meeting at Everett High School. Principal Erick Naumann has called a full staff meeting for Wednesday at 10AM to address sweeping budget cuts to come.

Superintendent Priya Tahiliani is making good on her promise to save teacher-to-student instruction. And teachers are saying this is the most massive budget cutting of administrators they have ever seen.

The emphasis was on making sure as many certified classroom teachers were retained in anticipation of DESE Covid-19 regulations in the fall.

The mandate calls for class sizes of 10 or less. This is a huge issue in Everett schools as classes are routinely 30-35 students. So now, instead of one teacher per 30 students, it will have to be three teachers per 10 students.

Everett High School. (Photo by JIM MAHONEY)

It has become, as one department head stated, an “All hands on deck” situation with certified teachers. The sweeping changes also requires all EPS staff (outside of one building principal, one vice principal and a skeleton crew of clerical /secretary type) have a teaching certificate in some content area and will be teaching a full course load.  This includes all coaches, all substitute teachers, etc. Here’s a list of the cuts:

– Entire “Academy Model” has been revamped and streamlined to run through Principal Erick Naumann and Vice Principal Christopher Barrett. Potentially there will be two Deans who will only make a 10,000 dollar stipend on top of their regular pay will assist in disciplinary matters.

– All Assistant Principals of Academies positions are eliminated. Consequently, Dr. Omar Easy’s position of Executive Assistant Principal is eliminated.

– All Director positions of content/ subject matter have been eliminated, including math, history, science, english, ELL,  art, phys. ed., foreign language, health etc.. All have been let go. Consequently, directors will be replaced with lead teachers/ department heads who will also be taking on a full course load. They either will either be receiving no formal pay increase or a small stipend. Essentially the position will be in exchange for administrative hours towards an administrator license/position.

– Michelle Crowells Director of Curriculum position has been eliminated.  Her duties will be assumed by a collective of Supt., Deputy Supt. Kim Tsai, Kevin Shaw, and Sped Director William Donahue.  Crowell reportedly has valid teaching certificate and will be teaching K-8.

– Charlie Obremski was informed his contract will not be renewed in 2022. The position may be permanently eliminated and assumed by Deputy Supt. Kim Tsai.

– Kevin Shaw expected/ “nudged” to retire in 2022. Rumor is Erick Naumann is already slotted for position.

– Head of Guidance position eliminated. As a result, Kathy McCormack has submitted retirement papers. A collective of guidance counselors will be charged with her duties.

– Head Football Coach Theluxon Pierre’s been let go. Surprisingly, this was  not due to child abuse and domestic violence allegations Pierre’s wife made on social media. In fact, an SRO at EHS said that he had been cleared on allegations and was set to be reinstated. His dismissal was not due to coaching performance, neither, but instead it was discovered that he is not certified in any educational area in any form at all.  As stated prior, the head football coach must teach a full course load. As a result, assistant coach Gregory Bluestein will be named interim head coach for the fall season. Bluestein is fully certified as a classroom 8-12 teacher.  A full search will take place throughout the 2020-21 school year for a permanent head coach. Bluestein has been encouraged to apply, but the search will truly be wide open.

And so, there you have it, up to date information on the rapidly changing persona of the Everett Public Schools under the leadership of the new superintendent.

In fact, Tahiliani is attempting a cultural change from long established rituals here to a much more entrepreneurial and decentralized form of hands on teaching and guidance.

The real imponderable is how the EPS will achieve the social distancing requirements necessary to carry on classroom education with regularity and with educational goals being met while maintaining scores needed for the EPS to maintain its reputation as a great place for minority students to be educated and shepherded.

The virtual and physical reshaping of leadership roles inside the Everett Public schools has been a long time coming.

In the “New Normal” many efforts are going to be made to overcome the adversity placed upon public school systems by severe budget cutting, a pandemic that is not going away, and a school system with 7,000 students badly in need of a new form of leadership.

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