Theresa McGuinness Offered Interim Superintendent Position on 4 to 1 Vote
The Marblehead School Committee met in public session on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 4:30 p.m. to deliberate about the two candidates named as finalists in the search for an interim superintendent of Marblehead Public Schools.
The School Committee interviewed both candidates on October 2nd and then took time to conduct reference calls and obtain further information prior to making a final decision.
Both candidates received high praise from all of the School Committee members. Janell Pearson-Campbell, who previously served as interim superintendent of the Northampton Public Schools, was described as very personable and communicative, skilled at putting her audience at ease and managing effectively in challenging circumstances. Theresa McGuinness—formerly the principal of the Marblehead Village School and currently an assistant superintendent of the Watertown Public Schools—was described as very data-driven, hard working, and committed to academic excellence.
During discussion prior to the vote, Meagan Taylor expressed her commitment to maintaining stability in Marblehead and noted her preference for asking the current acting superintendent, Michelle Cresta, to stay on in the role until a search for a permanent superintendent could be commenced. While agreeing with Meagan Taylor's praise for Cresta, the remaining School Committee members expressed concerns, noting that Cresta had made clear her preference to return as soon as possible to her role as assistant superintendent of finance and operations, and that it would be very difficult to replace her expertise in these areas or expect her to continue to do both jobs on a long-term basis. Cresta took the opportunity to speak, expressing her commitment to Marblehead as a community and above all to the students in Marblehead's schools. However, she noted, she would ultimately prefer to remain in her operations role.
The motion to offer McGuinness the position as interim superintendent ultimately passed by four to one, with Meagan Taylor voting against. Pending contract negotiations, the School Committee hopes to have McGuiness start on November 1, 2023.
Editor’s note: School Committee member Jenn Schaeffner is a Marblehead Beacon founder and editor. She is recusing herself from Marblehead Beacon’s coverage of the School Committee and anything pertaining to Marblehead Public Schools.