Updated: Greenfield superintendent will not renew contract, leaving in June



Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2020 3:43:57 PM

GREENFIELD — Superintendent Jordana Harper has notified the School Committee that she will not renew her contract with the Greenfield School Department and she will leave on June 30.

Harper submitted a letter to the committee, and Chair Amy Proietti said it will not release any details until it has a chance to evaluate its options. But Harper provided the letter to the Greenfield Recorder.

In the letter to parents, teachers, staff, students and the community, Harper said, “As we start this new year, I wish to share with you the news that this will be my last year as superintendent of GPS.”

She continued by saying she has had the “immense pleasure” of serving the Greenfield community and is proud of what has been accomplished.

“Mostly I am proud to have served the students of Greenfield who I have held as my guiding light in my decisions at all times, and to represent the teachers and administrators of this district who care deeply about the well-being of our students,” she wrote. “This year marks my seventh year in Greenfield, and while I am not resigning immediately, I do not intend to seek a renewal of my contract after it expires at the end of this school year in June 2021.”

Harper said she hopes that by providing the School Committee with notice at the beginning of the year, it will allow the committee to initiate a “complete and thorough search for the next superintendent” and will ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

“I remain deeply committed to our students,” she wrote, “and will continue working to ensure this year is a success.”

Proietti called an “emergency” virtual meeting of the School Committee on Saturday, Sept. 12, but the city’s web page did not provide a link to the web meeting. She said that’s because besides opening the meeting, the committee immediately voted to go into executive session, citing the second exemption of the state’s Open Meeting Law, which allows it to go into executive session to discuss non-union contract negotiations.

Proietti said meeting minutes were taken and will eventually be available to the public. She said she has spoken with the district’s lawyer and feels everything was done appropriately.

In September of 2019, the School Committee was trained on the state’s Open Meeting Law after Paul Jablon, a Greenfield resident and member of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR) filed a complaint with the attorney general.

Though some have suggested the meeting on Saturday was also a violation, Proietti believes it was not.

“There are a lot of moving parts,” she said. “We just can’t talk about it right now. I would not take calling an emergency meeting lightly. I felt the School Committee had a fiduciary responsibility and it needed to be addressed immediately.”

School Committee member Glenn Johnson was not in attendance on Saturday, but School Committee members Proietti, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner, Jean Wall, former Greenfield School Department Superintendent Susan Hollins, Susan Eckstrom and Katie Caron were present.

While Wedegartner did not respond to questions about Harper’s announcement, a member of her staff said he believed Saturday’s meeting was called to discuss student registration issues and contracts for “attendance officers and the registrar.”

The School Committee had a regular meeting planned for Monday night, but it was unclear at press time whether Harper’s resignation would be discussed.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.

Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
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