Editor, Townsman:

In the middle of a pandemic, the superintendent has compounded the disruption by deciding to “transfer” three longtime South School teachers.

The boilerplate, buzzword laden) rationale provided by the superintendent was simply his oft-used shield: this was a “personnel decision.”

South School is a wonderful place because of its teachers and community. As a parent, after reading publicly filed documents regarding this year’s difficulties, the takeaway was that there had been a failure of leadership at South School.

A new principal was welcomed; the longtime South teachers would provide continuity. Yet, we have now learned that my child’s teacher and two other long tenured teachers will be transferred to other Andover schools.

I know firsthand that those teachers are wonderful educators; indeed, the superintendent will be moving them to other schools (our loss, their gain).

What, then, is the justification for this decision? If “staff” called for this decision, at what point does “staff” need to learn to work together for the benefit of children?

Was “staff” asking for this change an excuse for retribution?

Leaving aside the questionable motivation, how is this best for students? Amid a pandemic, they will come back in fall with a new structure and new principal, but without teachers who make South School what it is.

We all remember seeing last year’s teacher on the first day of a new year — that familiar face creates security. Our children need these long tenured teachers now more than ever.

The superintendent’s performance here demonstrates his inability to consider the good of Andover Public Schools students above all else. Those who challenge him face retribution, and details will be hidden using human resources as a shield.

In writing this, I considered whether my three children would face retribution. Is that how we want Andover Public Schools to be led?

In the past, justifications have been made for the superintendent’s questionable behavior and lack of judgment. But there is no denying at this point that this is a pattern.

The School Committee cannot simply say this harmful decision is solely his.

It has a duty to evaluate his fitness to serve Andover Public Schools.

Danielle Bennett



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