Contract finalized with new Greenfield schools superintendent

  • The Greenfield School Committee officially hired Christine DeBarge as the new superintendent of the Greenfield School Department on Wednesday following contract negotiations. Staff Photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2021 10:32:04 PM

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield School Committee officially hired Christine DeBarge as the new superintendent of the Greenfield School Department on Wednesday following contract negotiations.

The School Committee voted unanimously last month to enter into negotiations with DeBarge after selecting her from among five finalists. On Wednesday, the committee entered into a roughly 30-minute executive session for contract negotiations. After resuming the public meeting, members voted unanimously to accept the contract with a salary of $170,000, which DeBarge and Chair Amy Proietti signed.

“I would like to say this has been a very smooth and, dare I say, simple, process,” Proietti said. “I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went, and in doing these negotiations we definitely uncovered a lot of places where we are excited to be working together.”

Continuing, Proietti said members “discovered more and more” of the reasons why DeBarge was the committee’s “first and unanimous” choice for the job. During a meeting in July, School Committee members cited DeBarge’s “direct experience as a superintendent in a K-12 district” as a leading reason for her being favored over other candidates. DeBarge, who currently serves as superintendent of East Windsor Public Schools in Connecticut, was one of five finalists who were brought to the full committee by the Superintendent Search Committee, headed by School Committee member Jean Wall.

Of the five finalists, Thaddeus King and Jennifer Culkeen dropped out before their final interview. The other two finalists who were interviewed were Carole Learned-Miller and Bernard Audette.

Judy Houle with The Management Solutions Inc. has been serving as interim superintendent for the last six months after former Superintendent Jordana Harper reached an “amicable agreement” with the district that ended her tenure on Feb. 19. The School Committee members thanked Houle on Wednesday for their time working together, and said she felt the district would be left in good hands with DeBarge and Karin Patenaude, former principal of Greenfield High School who was appointed assistant superintendent of teaching and learning with the Greenfield School Department last month.

DeBarge said she has spent two working days in the district over the past week, meeting with administrators and faculty members to introduce herself.

“I’ve been in the district two days now meeting people, and I’m more and more excited every time I meet somebody new,” DeBarge said Wednesday. “So this is something I’m very much looking forward to.”

The School Committee met in person in the Greenfield High School Library this week, and plans to continue meeting in person for all regular meetings and some special meetings, unless public health guidance changes. Subcommittee meetings will continue in the remote format for now. The next School Committee meeting is scheduled for Aug. 11, at 6 p.m.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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