Superintendent of Schools Marinel McGrath has been given a five-year contract extension that will keep her at the helm while the town decides whether to expand Andover High and build a prekindergarten building.
The School Committee voted 4-0-1 last Thursday with David Birnbach abstaining, due to concern about the length of the contract. McGrath’s current contract is a three-year contract. It will expire June 30. State law allows contracts of up to six years.
“When Marinel came in, one of the first things she did was complete the strategic plan for the schools,” said Chairwoman Paula Colby-Clements. “We feel that that plan is moving forward and we’re moving forward on the right path. Five years was important so she could continue to shepherd that.”
A copy of the contract was not immediately available at presstime. McGrath made more than $202,000 last year, with about $3,000 in retroactive pay. She is the highest paid Andover employee. Her new contract does not outline how much she will be paid. Committee members said they will evaluate McGrath at the end of the school year and determine any raise then.
“At the end of the year is when we do a performance review which ties to salary,” said Colby-Clements. “Clearly we talked about whether the performance warranted five additional years and we certainly thought that it did.”
“Marinel has done a great job being a leader, bringing the leadership team, the principals, together to think as one district,” said Colby-Clements. “She also has been very receptive to bringing in new programs. The EdEx program (taking courses online) is an example of that at the high school.”
“We wanted to have some consistency given everything we’ve been through in the past two to three years,” said committee member Dennis Forgue, referring to the difficult teachers contract negotiation, and turnover in leadership positions. Andover has a new Andover High principal, assistant superintendent and director of student services, which is the top special education position.