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School board OKs superintendent’s contract

Provost, who is to start July 1, must now sign the contract, according to Interim Superintendent Regina Nash.

Provost, 42, of Easthampton who has led the North Brookfield public schools since 2011 was chosen over two other finalists from a pool of 22 applicants.

The School Committee approved the contract by a vote of 7-1 Wednesday at a special meeting, following a discussion in executive session. At-large member Blue DuVal cast the sole vote against the contract.

DuVal said her vote had nothing to do with Provost, but she wanted to pay the new superintendent less money so the savings could be used elsewhere.

Nash said the agreement with Provost contains “standard” health benefits, sick leave, vacation and professional development opportunities for the superintendent’s position.

“Now, he just needs to come in and sign it,” she said.

Reached at his office Thursday, Provost said he was looking forward to doing just that.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to work on behalf of students in the Northampton public schools,” he said. “I look forward to getting to know my teachers, administrators and students.”

Provost said he will be designing an “entry plan” outlining strengths and challenges facing the city schools and strategies for addressing problems.

“It’s important that I understand as many perspectives as possible,” he said. “My entry plan will be better able to represent the students and teachers if I hear their stories.”

The search that led to Provost’s hire was Northampton’s third in three years. A search in October was reopened after the School Committee rejected three finalists identified in that round. A month later, the school board increased the annual salary offered for by $20,000 to between $140,000 and $150,000.

Provost’s career includes stints as a classroom teacher and as special education director for the Holyoke and Agawam public schools. A married father of a teenage son, he holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Westfield State University and both master’s and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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