Committee Picks Lamarche To Lead School District
By: Alex Scofield
The school committee this week voted to make Steven Lamarche the new superintendent of the Bourne School District.
Mr. Lamarche is currently the director of operations and accountability for the Pembroke School District.
He was one of three candidates to make it to the final round of interviews with the school committee last week, along with Theresa Kane, superintendent of the Ludlow School District, and Middelton K. McGoodwin, superintendent of the Marshfield School District.
Mr. Lamarche formerly served as the dean of Bourne Middle School from 2000 until 2004.
The board made its vote after hearing the reports of a group of teachers, parents, and school committee members who made site visits to each of the candidates’ districts earlier this week.
Laurianne V. Gilbert, president of the Bourne Educators Association, said that while each candidate earned compliments from the constituent groups she met with during her visit, Mr. Lamarche earned the most consistent and telling praise.
Ms. Gilbert said the people she met with in the Pembroke School District applauded Mr. Lamarche’s enthusiasm, communication skills, and ability to develop talented teachers into leaders.
“I think Pembroke is in a place that our school district can strive to be academically,” Ms. Gilbert said. “Talking to people in his district, it made me think I would want to go back to school so I could be one of his leaders.”
They also praised cost-saving measures Mr. Lamarche had instituted, such as encouraging the Pembroke School District to participate in a five-town consortium to purchase bathroom supplies.
School committee member Jonathan D. O’Hara said he was also impressed by Mr. Lamarche’s ability to look two to three years ahead when building a budget.
William F. Gibbons, who was an administrator at Bourne High School during Mr. Lamarche’s years as a dean at Bourne Middle School, said he was impressed by the progress his former colleague has made over the last six years.
“I was very surprised, and I was the one who knew him,” Mr. Gibbons said.
Mr. Lamarche took over his current post within the administrative offices at the Pembroke School District last May after serving as the principal of the Pembroke Community Middle School.
Prior to becoming the dean of Bourne Middle School in 2000, Mr. Lamarche served as the acting special education director for the Webster School District. Before that, he taught special education after staff reductions removed him from his role as a middle school principal in Webster.
Prior to unanimously supporting a motion by Chairman Richard A. Lavoie to offer Mr. Lamarche the job, each school committee member submitted their choice for superintendent on a piece of paper.
School committee member Allen W. Swain, who conducted a site visit at Ms. Kane’s district, cast his vote for her. He was the only member of the committee to not cast a paper vote for Mr. Lamarche.
He said his preference for Ms. Kane was due to the fact that she had seen the Ludlow schools through an extensive restructuring process and had maintained the support of the administrators and teachers.
He said that with many changes imminent in the Bourne School District, including the hiring of a new assistant superintendent and the seating of two new school committee members, he believed Ms. Kane’s experience would have been a major benefit to the town.
“There’s lots of uncertainty and change coming, I want someone with the ability to deal with all the change that is about to bubble up,” he said. “I want someone who has been tested in the past and has experience.”
Monice O. Maurice of Evergreen Hill Road, a parent who attended the Ludlow site visit, said she was also impressed by Ms. Kane.
However, she said that it seemed that parent morale was low in Ludlow as a result of the restructuring overseen by Ms. Kane.
She added that class sizes were a little bit too large in Ludlow and that, overall, the district seemed “top heavy” with administrators.
Mr. McGoodwin earned praised during committee members visited his district, but there were also several comments made that indicated he would not be a good fit for Bourne.
Ms. Gilbert said she was concerned to hear one person she interviewed say “You could do worse, but you could probably do a little better, too.”
Mr. O’Hara told his fellow board members that while Mr. McGoodwin has been praised as an effective communicator who had overseen the Marshfield School District’s effort to coordinate its curriculum across seven elementary schools, it was also made clear to them that he had clashed with his school committee over philosophical differences.
After the vote was taken, Mr. Lavoie called for a brief recess so he could call Mr. Lamarche and make him aware that they were going to offer him the position.
He returned to announce that, pending negotiations, Mr. Lamarche would become the new superintendent of the Bourne School District.
Mr. Lavoie said he was pleased by what he had learned about the Bourne School District during the superintendent search process, which yielded more than 30 applications.
“During the interviews it became clear that the Bourne School District has some things that other districts don’t,” he said.
Mr. Lavoie said he was initially concerned that each of the candidates were looking to come to the Bourne School District as a place “to come and be comfortable and take part in our success, but not be the leader who could push us forward.”
“We didn’t want that,” he said.
Mr. Lavoie said that after listening to feedback from the site visits, he was convinced the school district had found its leader in Mr. Lamarche.
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