Falmouth's Curriculum Director Gone Without Explanation
By: ELIZABETH W. SAITO, July 24, 2014
Several anonymous sources from within the Falmouth school system report that Mark C. Wilson, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, has been fired. Falmouth superintendent Bonny L. Gifford declined to confirm or deny the report, and Mr. Wilson has not returned requests for comment.
Mr. Wilson was not present at the July 22 Falmouth School Committee meeting, as he customarily is. He was also not in his office last Wednesday, July 16; his secretary directed questions about his employment status to the superintendent.
On June 26 Mr. Wilson offered to meet with parents regarding curriculum on July 26, indicating that he did not anticipate a change in employment status.
The school committee has held several executive sessions recently. The committee met in executive session both before and after their brief public meeting this Tuesday. Dr. Gifford declined to say whether the committee was discussing Mr. Wilson in the private sessions.
Before adjourning into executive session, committee member Terri A. Medeiros read the following statement for her motion to move into private session: “Move into executive session to conduct a strategy session in preparation for negotiations with non-union personnel and to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation if an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining or litigating.”
In a statement, Dr. Gifford wrote, “I can not discuss personnel matters. However...the school committee and I always work in partnership and with due diligence to appropriately address any issues that occur.”
According to a town website, the school committee also held a special executive session on July 10. The agenda for that meeting is listed as “assistant superintendent.” Falmouth does not currently have an assistant superintendent position, but in other school districts’ employees with that job title perform the same duties Mr. Wilson performed as the director of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Gifford was the assistant superintendent in the Nauset Public Schools before becoming Falmouth’s superintendent last summer.
This past spring the schools decided to add a new administrative position: an assistant director of curriculum and instruction. On May 16, Mr. Wilson announced that Zachary S. Waddicor, 31, had been hired into the position, and would be working “under the supervision of the director of curriculum and instruction” to provide leadership at the elementary level.
Dr. Gifford justified adding this new administrative position on several occasions by saying that Mr. Wilson was fulfilling so many duties already that an additional staff member was needed to focus on the elementary level.
There have been other changes this year in the school’s administrative staff. In May, Michael M. Ward, the school’s new finance director, resigned to take a position teaching math to at-risk youth in Fall River. And three of the seven building principals have left: Morse Pond School principal Andrea B. Schwamb and Mullen-Hall Elementary School principal Donna H. Noonan both took positions in the Wareham Public Schools, and Susan E. Driscoll, the principal at Teaticket Elementary School, retired in the spring after several months on medical leave.
Mr. Wilson and Dr. Gifford were the two final candidates considered to replace retiring superintendent Marc P. Dupuis last spring. Dr. Gifford got the job by a 5-3 vote. The committee was initially deadlocked in a 4-4 vote, until school committee member Donna Mattison-Earls changed her mind.
School committee members have declined to comment on Mr. Wilson’s current employment status.
Mr. Wilson was hired in 2011 for the position of director of curriculum and instruction. Previous to his post in Falmouth, Mr. Wilson was the principal of the Knox Trail Junior High School in Spencer. He has also served as director of humanities for grades 6 through 12 in the Hopkinton Public Schools and as an assistant principal in the Mansfield Public Schools. From 2000 to 2001 Mr. Wilson was a member of the Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program and taught in Zimbabwe.