Editor, Townsman:

Shelley Berman has been the square peg tying to fit into a round hole in Andover ever since he got here. At some point, the School Committee has to realize his actions will not benefit our students anymore. Since Berman arrived do you realize that our town has been in the media almost every 4 to 6 months in the past three years? Never has this town had such consistent bad press. In my opinion, he has mismanaged programs here just like he did in the previous states he has worked in. The paper trail runs thick and sadly the School Committee has allowed him to do the same here. Why?

I am asking the committee to please not let his actions continue. Not only has Berman been a PR nightmare, but our Special Education department still has the same issues if not worse under his leadership? I remember all those meetings, all that grassroots programming I attended with Berman and several School Committee members both current and former members. Over the years the school department continues to hear the crying out from families in despair to get services for their children to learn. And so has he.

I am sure the committee remembers the due diligence that I and our parent group and SEPAC (Special Education Advisory Committee) uncovered four years ago. It was all exposed in reports, presentations and surveys by 1,300 families in this town. Tell me how has that service improved in the last 3 years since Berman has arrived? He had all the facts and the tools to make big changes for those students through his leadership and he has failed them.

Even last year, he gambled with "our house money" (our taxes) and a young child’s education losing a lawsuit with the state not to settle and provide services/placement for a dyslexic child and even then, the School Committee let him keep his job. Unbelievable. Today families are still fighting and crying to get services for their children — nothing has changed. But here is how you can change the direction of our education system: Do not renew his contract.

On behalf of my family and many families in Andover please do not renew his contract. Our students deserve so much better.

It’s time to call our HR Director Candace Hall and tell her to start her search. The candidate pool will be abundant as many candidates will be looking now for their new September position.

The students, the administration and the families of Andover will be most thankful.

Kelle Sutliff

Former SEPAC Representative, 2014-2016

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