Greenfield superintendent Susan Hollins to retire by end of school year
GREENFIELD — Susan Hollins, who has led Greenfield schools since 2008, will step away from the school department by the end of this school year.
Hollins wrote in a letter to Mayor William Martin, chairman of the School Committee, that she planned to retire on or before July 1, 2014 — the day her contract expires. But she also indicated a willingness to leave earlier than that and the school board directed Martin to work out those details with her.
The mayor said that, for the first time in a long time, Greenfield schools have become a “solid piece of the community.” He praised Hollins for shepherding that effort of change since she came aboard in 2008.
“I don’t know of anyone who could have ever done a better job. Thank you,” he said.
The Greenfield School Committee began its Wednesday meeting with a 90-minute executive session to discuss Hollins’ contract. Attorney Peter Smith helped guide the board members through their legal options, said Martin.
Hollins, who declined to comment after the meeting, sat with school officials in a room down the hall while the executive session took place.
Martin said he received the letter Monday afternoon and sent it to school board members Wednesday afternoon. He said that until Hollins’ end date is set, it’s premature to discuss what the board will do should the superintendent leave in the middle of the year.
“We’ll try to certainly do the best we can do (for Greenfield schools) and we’ll do the right thing,” he said, after the meeting.
The board hired Hollins as interim superintendent in June 2008, months after learning about a $1.1 million school department deficit. At that time, school officials were forced to lay off 60 employees, families fled to neighboring districts and all of the town’s principals made initial plans to work elsewhere.
She became the department’s permanent superintendent in 2010. With her at the helm, the school department crawled out of its financial hole. Schools stayed open and student population has continuously grown, surging in recent years to about 1,800 brick-and-mortar students.
She was also the leading force behind Greenfield opening the state’s first and only virtual school in 2010 — an effort that some school board members have praised and others have called a distraction to Greenfield school business.
The virtual school became a state-authorized Commonwealth of Massachusetts Virtual School this summer and has contracted with the Greenfield School Department for administrative services.
You can reach Chris Shores at:
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