First two school superintendent candidates make their cases

Mar 21, 2023

DARTMOUTH __ The Dartmouth School Committee’s search for a new superintendent continued as members interviewed two of three finalists at the committee’s March 20 meeting. 

The committee asked both candidates the same questions regarding their prior experience and how they plan to improve Dartmouth schools. The candidate eventually chosen by the School Committee will replace the recently retired longtime superintendent Dr. Bonny Gifford.

First in the hot seat was Dr. June Saba-Maguire, assistant superintendent of Brockton Public Schools. 

Saba-Maguire advocated for collaboration with staff and the community.

“I have an open door policy and I always like to tell people I have the best candy jar in the school district…I say that because it does invite people into your space, sometimes in informal ways where you're really able to make those deep connections,” said Saba-Maguire. 

When faced with the issue of adjusting to a smaller school district, from Brockton to Dartmouth, Saba-Maguire explained how there is always a way to make it work, despite shrinking budgets. 

“I do the work that needs to be done, regardless of the position that I hold,” said Saba-Maguire.

Dr. Andrea Schwamb, assistant superintendent of Wareham Public Schools, echoed the same commitment to the job. 

“I am here to serve. There is nothing that I wouldn’t do to be part of a team. Every job is my job,” said Schwamb. 

When considering the switch in districts Schwamb said Dartmouth is “in her comfort zone.” 

In her time as principal and assistant principal in the Falmouth Public School District Schwamb said she made close connections with students and their families. In Wareham, she said, her experience has not been as intimate. 

She sees the potential to build close relationships similar to those she built in Falmouth in the Dartmouth school district due to their similarities in district structure and the transition students have from their middle schools to the high school.  

Many educators' union members from the Dartmouth district were in the audience hoping a new contract will improve their pay and access to health care. 

Donna Costa, a secretary at Dartmouth Middle School said she hopes “whoever comes in as superintendent values everyone, from custodial workers to the nurses to the secretaries because we are the heart of the school…We all want to be paid fair, they’re top-heavy. How about letting it trickle down a little bit?"

The final interview with Dr. Robert Gerardi, Jr., superintendent of New Shoreham School Department on Block Island, R.I., will be conducted at the School Committee meeting on Wednesday, March 22 at 6 p.m.

At that meeting, the School Committee is also scheduled to discuss the finalists and possibly make a selection.