Three seek Special school job

January 9, 2017

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham is expected to make her recommendation for the next administrator of special education to the Lynn School Committee on Thursday.

Members of the school committee unanimously put forward two names for the superintendent’s consideration, Ellen Kelleher-Rojas and Lesia Diego. John Ford, a school committee member, also submitted a third name, Jeffrey Lappin.

Information on the finalists’ backgrounds, including current job positions, was not made available by school officials on Monday. But Ford said all of the candidates are working in various aspects of special education in Massachusetts school systems.

Latham could not be reached for comment.

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Jared Nicholson, a school committee member, said the position will pay about $110,000, but could vary slightly based on experience and education. He said the person hired would oversee all of the special education services in the Lynn Public Schools.

Nicholson said the committee would have to vote on a candidate, but ultimately hires on the recommendation of the superintendent. Six people were interviewed by the school committee and top administrators publicly last week, and from that pool, three finalists were chosen.

“I thought they had good leadership experience, good subject matter experience,” Nicholson said of Kelleher-Rojas and Diego, the two names he put forward.

He said they were able to discuss formally what their philosophies were for special education, how to run the department and had more relevant experience than the other candidates.

Nicholson said he was looking for experience in a candidate, someone who has in-depth involvement in special education and is ready to take on a position of great responsibility and great importance to the district. He was also interested in the philosophy they bring and the commitment to making sure students have all of the resources they need.

Ford said he also submitted Lappin’s name because he thought he was worth notice.

“I just thought I saw something in him that might be good,” Ford said. “His resume was pretty good.”

With the other two candidates, Ford said he thought they interviewed well and had the experience.

Ford said the superintendent could decline to recommend anyone to the school committee on Thursday, and instead choose to repost the position.

School committee member Donna Coppola said she thought Kelleher-Rojas and Diego had lots of experience.

“It could look like a good match for us, for Lynn,” she said. “We’re trying to look for the right match. For me personally, this job is a very big job.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.