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SCHOOL COMMITTEE ROUNDUP: Superintendent Search Committee expects to have new school leader selected by mid-May

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School board votes against school choice option; approves future student club’s overseas travel


By Steve Freker


MALDEN – A new school leader for the Malden Public Schools for the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year could be selected by mid-May. That was the word from School Committee Vice Chair Jennifer Spadafora at Monday night’s regular meeting.

Spadafora, who serves as co-chair of the Superintendent Search Committee with member Sharyn Rose-Zeiberg, went through an update of the process on Monday. Spadafora said that two meetings have been held to date with the 12-person Superintendent Search Committee as well as a forum with the Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), where members of that organization were able to pose questions to members of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) advisory group that has been hired to oversee the search. Earlier this week on Tuesday, April 2, a live and also a virtual Community Forum were conducted by the MASC group, with the Zoom virtual session in the afternoon and the live forum in the Malden High School library.

The deadline for applications for the position, which will begin on July 1 of this year, was today, April 5, and members of the Search Committee will soon begin reviewing applications, after an initial procedure by the MASC group, according to Spadafora. Initial interview rounds will then be conducted in April for applicants deemed suitable by both MASC and the Search Committee, with additional rounds planned for semifinalists and finalists. The target date is mid-May for the Search Committee to have a recommendation put before the School Committee for a vote.


School Committee approves future ‘Tornado Traveler’ dates and destinations

The School Committee received a presentation from Malden High School educator Shauna Campbell Valade on the recent successful trip to Costa Rica by the MHS Tornado Travelers group. Valade, a Co-Advisor for the group, provided a summary of the trip and also a brief slideshow with photos from the trip. Members of the School Committee praised the advisors and student members of the club for their successful trip and also approved future trips for Tornado Travelers.

A London and Paris trip is already planned for 2025. In 2026, the group will visit the Dominican Republic in February Vacation that year and then the mid-Atlantic region of Europe in 2027 in April Vacation that year.


School Committee rejects open school choice option

The School Committee unanimously rejected adoption of the annual “school choice” option by an 8-0 vote at Monday’s meeting. Vice Chair Spadafora spoke before the vote, noting that it has been customary in the past for the School Committee to forgo adoption of school choice, where students from outside the district could choose to attend Malden schools and pay tuition.

Due to the large and growing population of the Malden Public Schools, this would not be wise option, Spadafora said, and her colleagues agreed. Voting against school choice for Malden were members Robert McCarthy Jr. (Ward 2), Vice Chair Spadafora (Ward 3), Dawn Macklin (Ward 4), Elizabeth Hortie (Ward 5), Joseph Gray (Ward 6), Keith Bernard (Ward 7) and Sharyn Rose-Zeiberg (Ward 8) and Chairperson Mayor Gary Christenson. Ward 1 member Michael Drummey was not in attendance Monday.




Malden Public School Superintendent

Search Committee

Principal Representative

Adam Weldai – Forestdale School


Assistant Principal Representative

Jane Wright – Salemwood School


Unit A Malden Education Association (MEA) Union Representatives

Todd Cole – Malden High School

Sonia Miller – Linden School

Dr. Brian Sheehan – Salemwood School


Unit B MEA Union Representatives

Cara Hovhanessian – Stem Director K-5

Stephanie Scalese – SPED Program Manager


Unit C MEA Representatives

Sammantha Dorazio – Substitute School Nurse

Dawn Marie O’Toole – Beebe ESP


Parent/Caregiver Representatives

Ashanafi Befekadu

Joshua Gold

Heather Segal


Student Representative

Meklit Abel


SEPAC Advisor

Amanda Ceide

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