New superintendent June Saba-Maguire knows ‘the best part of the job is yet to come’
June Saba-Maguire is settling into her role as superintendent of schools, but knows “the best part of the job is yet to come.”
That’s when students and staff are back in school.
After just over a month on the job, Saba-Maguire said she is getting ready for the school year by making connections throughout Dartmouth.
As she expected when coming to Dartmouth, there have been some learning curves after 29 years working in Brockton Public Schools, where she held multiple positions before becoming an assistant superintendent of their school district.
That doesn’t mean the change has been without its challenges. Saba-Maguire has had to quickly become familiar with town government, even sitting in on her first School Committee meeting over the summer. She’s also had to make the exceedingly difficult swap from Microsoft Office to Google.
Still, she believes that her time working in Brockton prepared her for the new gig.
“I spent a good deal of time [in Brockton], so I certainly knew all the folks there,” she said. “What’s been helpful for me here in Dartmouth is the ease in which I am able to make connections,” she said.
Saba-Maguire said she is worried about the school budget, and how it will impact the support available to teachers.
“I am very concerned about the budget,” Saba-Maguire said. “Something that any new superintendent dreads is hearing that there is possibly a budget challenge looming.”
In anticipation of financial issues, she is working with administrators, town officials and Finance Committee members to make a plan for the future of the school budget.
“We are very lucky here that we have an outstanding assistant superintendent of finance, [James Kiely],” Saba-Maguire said.
Within the schools, she wants to create a sense of belonging from the moment students enter Dartmouth Public Schools, all the way to when they graduate.
“This work is certainly about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging,” Saba-Maguire said. “And how do we create those conditions … as the core of our work.”
She explained that DEIB work is not intermittently applicable but something that the school community and community at large can integrate into every aspect of being, “not as something that takes place during a certain amount of time.”
This is a component she is working into the district’s five-year plan for the district and is reflected in a project known as the “portrait of a learner,” which covers the “core competencies” a student from pre-k until 12th grade will gain in the Dartmouth school system.
That project will not be officially introduced to the community for a couple more years.
“My vision is not quite formed yet,” she said. “Because I need to get to know the district better.”
When it comes to Dartmouth High School’s Indian logo, which was a controversy over multiple years, Saba-Maguire says she will support the community’s vote.
“I feel like the town came together and made a decision and that we need to support that decision,” she said. “At the [same] time, honor the commitment we made, at the town level, to support the education of the folks here about the role of indigenous people.”
She is grateful to the community for giving her a warm and accepting welcome.
“The schools are the center of your community,” Saba-Maguire said. “One thing I have noticed here in Dartmouth is that there is certainly a lot of pride in the schools and in the community.”