Mayor Facing Major Fight Attempting To Have Superintendent Removed

Tahiliani v DeMaria Moves Center Stage

By Josh Resnek

Sending Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani packing might well become a defining moment in Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s effort to clutch victory out of the jaws of recent defeats.

City Clerk Sergio Cornelio’s convincing reappointment vote by the city council two weeks ago was not one of the mayor’s finest hours.

The 7-3 affirmative vote by the city council, which would have denied Cornelio’s reappointment to a five year term six months ago, represents an extraordinary turnaround and one which reveals how the mayor’s political fortunes are changing.

Cornelio’s victory was the mayor’s defeat, plain and simple. Even the mayor would have to admit this if any of his chief appointees or attorneys felt it necessary to ask.

The dynamics of the mayor’s effort to find a new superintendent rather than to renew Tahiliani’s contract implies this: he needs for the school committee to refuse to renew her contract in December.

December might seem an eternity away but the time will pass quickly.

What might well have been an 8-2 vote of the school committee some months back to be rid of Tahiliani is now very likely a tie vote, with the tie vote losing.

It is impossible to know where city politics will be in December.

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Extend Tahiliani’s Contract

EDITOR’S NOTE:

John Puopolo, one of the leaders of the political uprising against the DeMaria Administration’s excesses has written to all the members of the School Committee pleading with them to vote to keep Superintendent Priya Tahiliani and to extend her contract. The following is his message and two responses. JR

Good Day All,

I am writing to you in support of Superintendent, Ms Tahiliani, receiving a contract extension. She has proven to be extremely well qualified for the job she holds. She has assembled an excellent staff with her hires. The Superintendent has led her staff through some of the most challenging times anyone has faced in Everett even while others were working against her.

Coming into Everett’s education system, which has been in turmoil for many years do to the prior superintendent who you all know is embroiled in law suits because of his bad behavior, was no easy task. Ms Tahiliani has performed admirably under such circumstances. The culture has needed and continues to need significant change which she has proven she is up to the task and will continue to effectuate change as she already has.

Almost upon arrival she met Covid, a situation never experienced by anyone in her roll. With no road map for what to do in a pandemic, she quickly created her own road map with her Team to successfully maneuver through the un- precedented situation.

She is clearly considered above average by her peers as she was named the top superintendent in Massachusetts an extremely prestigious award. She is moving our education system in the right direction and must be allowed to continue to finish what she has started. She is very good for Everett.

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Lease For Devens School Discussed; Possible Purchase Of Building, Too

By Josh Resnek

School Department officials discussed with the city council the improbabilities about the future of the Devens School on Church Street.

It was sold some years back to an investor by the city council for $960,000. Now the city is believed to be considering buying it back at a cost of anywhere from $10-$15 million.

Devens School

The School Department lease of the two story brick structure which serves as a school for some of the system’s most challenged students ends in 2023.

Presently, the lease is $580,000 a year.

According to school officials Dr. Brian Wallace and Superintendent Priya Tahiliani, the owner apparently has indicated he would like to sell the property back to the city or to develop it, or to renew the lease with the School Department, but very likely at a much higher monthly rent.

‘The owner wants to engage in a discussion about a new lease,” Tahiliani repeated to the council.

She said she did not know what kind of numbers the owner was suggesting for a renewal and hesitated from making assumptions before discussions had taken place.

Several councilors wondered if the city should buy the property back.

It was sold about twelve years ago for $960,000 – a sale engineered and approved by the city council.

Buying the property back could cost the city in the $10M TO $15M range Councilor Mike Marchese estimated.

“Why was it sold to begin with?” Councilor Stephanie Martins wanted to know.

“I’m for buying it back. We need the space but why was it sold?”

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Statewide Honor For Tahiliani

Everett Superintendent Receives a M.A.S.S. President’s Award

Special to the Leader Herald

Joining with Superintendent Tahiliani on the occasion of receiving her award are from the left: Outgoing M.A.S.S. President Tim Piwowar, Superintendent Tahiliani, M.A.S.S. Director of Government Affairs Mary Bourque, M.A.S.S. Executive Director Tom
Scott, School Committee Chairwoman Jeanne Cristiano, and Deputy Superintendent Kim Tsai.

In a resounding display of respect and admiration from her colleagues throughout the Commonwealth, Everett Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani has been honored with a 2022 President’s Award by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (M.A.S.S.).

“It was a special occasion made all the more meaningful by the fact that I shared the moment with members of my Central Office team and School Committee Chairperson Jeanne Cristiano,” said Tahiliani, who received the award at the M.A.S.S. Spring Meeting in Marlborough. “People are taking note of the great work we are doing, and the example we are setting. It was incredibly satisfying to accept this honor on behalf of the Everett Public Schools.”

M.A.S.S. is the only statewide organization devoted to advocating and supporting superintendents and assistant superintendents. In addition to holding meetings, events, and seminars throughout the year, M.A.S.S. oversees a New Superintendent’s Induction Program. Tahiliani is completing the three-year program under the tutelage of former Chelsea Superintendent and current M.A.S.S. Director of Government Relations Mary Bourque.

During the awards ceremony, Tahiliani was introduced by M.A.S.S. President Tim Piwowar, superintendent of the Billerica Public Schools. He credited Tahiliani for confronting “ the hopes and fears of a school system and community aspiring to transform and be better on behalf of students and families while also facing those in the community who are of privilege and who fear and resist change.”

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Di Pierro Should Resign

An Editorial by Priya Tahiliani, Superintendent of Public Schools

In adherence with the core values of the Everett Public Schools, and in defense of our students, staff, and families, I condemn the actions of Everett City Councilor Anthony DiPierro and ask that he resign from office effective immediately.

The racist communications that have recently come to light are staggering. They are the antithesis of everything we should stand for as a school district and as a community. Not only am I offended by the racist content of those communications, but I am deeply disappointed that less than a handful of our elected officials have responded.

For those of you who have not spoken up, your silence has been deafening. And for the students and community members who have had their ears peeled waiting to hear your reactions…or in this instance, the lack thereof…I feel even more strongly that my response must be all the louder and resounding for the absence of yours.

As a leader in this community, I want our students and our families to know that I hear their voices and I feel their pain. And as someone appointed to represent this community, I will never ever shy away from advocating on their behalf and for calling out what is right, as should be the case for all those who claim to represent the residents of Everett.

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