Finalists announced in Mohawk Trail, Hawlemont superintendent search

  • Mohawk Trail Regional School. Staff file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/7/2020 7:06:23 PM
Modified: 5/7/2020 7:06:13 PM

BUCKLAND — The Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont regional school districts have announced three finalists to fill the open position for superintendent.

The finalists were announced Tuesday following a virtual meeting between the two district school committees. Among the candidates under consideration are a high school principal in Winchendon, a principal of two Springfield elementary schools and the superintendent of Granby Public Schools.

Mohawk Trail Regional School District School Committee Chair Martha Thurber said in a statement the search committee is pleased with the selection of finalists.

“The search committee met frequently over the past month to review applications and perform initial interviews,” Thurber said. “We believe any of the candidates we have recommended to the School Committees would be an excellent choice.”

The three finalists were selected after a review of 13 applicants, Thurber said.

“In our search, we are looking for several important characteristics: a leadership style that emphasizes collaboration and open communication with all stakeholders; a commitment to educational equity, inclusion and high standards of achievement for all students; and strong management skills,” she said.

Thurber said all three finalists met that criteria.

Thaddeus King, principal of Murdock High School in Winchendon, has several years of teaching experience as well as eight years of administrative experience, according to his resume. Prior to his role at Winchendon, King served as a principal in the Lowell Public School District. He holds master’s degree in education from Fitchburg State University.

Rhonda Sennaite Stowell Lewis, principal of Glenwood School and Hiram L. Dorman Elementary School in Springfield, has served in an administrative capacity since 2004, according to her resume. Before that, she served as a professional development teacher and a special education teacher at Indian Orchard Elementary School.

Lewis holds an education doctorate from Concordia University, and also notes in her application she is a 1989 graduate of the Mohawk Trail Regional School District.

Finally, Sheryl Stanton, superintendent of Granby Public Schools, has served as an administrator since 2009, her resume states. She previously served as principal of two Ludlow schools, and assistant and acting superintendent of Southbridge Public Schools.

Stanton, who resides in Colrain, holds a master’s degree in teaching from Elms College in Chicopee.

The search for a new superintendent follows the January resignation of then-Superintendent Michael Buoniconti, who left after acknowledging an affair with an employee. Since then, Pat Bell has served as interim superintendent of the Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont regional school districts.

The announcement on Tuesday stated that public interviews — all of which will take place virtually with dial-in options — are expected to take place over the next several weeks. Interviews will involve Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont staff, administrators, students, families and community members.

Salary has not yet been discussed with the finalists, according to Thurber.

“We will seek to negotiate a salary that is consistent with market rates, district budgets and the successful candidate’s experience,” she said.

The Mohawk Trail and Hawlemont school committees expect to vote to select the new superintendent in June, and for the chosen candidate to start July 1.

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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