Pioneer hires new special education administrator

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School. Staff File Photo/Zack DeLuca

Staff Writer
Published: 5/31/2020 12:18:04 PM

NORTHFIELD — With Chris Maguire retiring as Pioneer Valley Regional School District’s special education administrator, the School Committee interviewed and chose to hire South Hadley resident Christie Fontaine to fill the position.

Fontaine’s contract will start July 1, for the beginning of next school year.

Superintendent Jonathan Scagel said a search committee reviewed applicants and had three finalists. The search committee felt Fontaine — who holds no relation to School Committee member Sharon Fontaine, of Leyden — was the right person for the job and she was chosen to interview with the full School Committee.

“I’m very excited at the potential of having Christie join our district,” Scagel said.

In her interview with the School Committee, Fontaine said she previously lived in Northfield for 22 years, and her daughters were educated in the Pioneer Valley Regional School District before they moved out of town. She has worked as special education coordinator at Greenfield High School, for elementary and preschool grades in Westfield, at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School and, for the last two years, with the Athol-Royalston Regional School District.

During her time with the Greenfield School Department, Fontaine said she worked to ensure homeless students were able to attend school and that transportation was available. Additionally, she said she worked closely with the director of guidance at the Greenfield and Athol high schools, making sure special education students were earning the appropriate credits needed to graduate.

During a May 21 meeting, the School Committee entered into executive session to conduct collective bargaining and contract negotiations regarding the special education administrator’s position. Then, last week, School Committee members voted to hire Fontaine, with a contract through June 30, 2022 and a salary of roughly $95,000.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at or 413-930-4579.

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