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Focus groups to help determine new Lynn superintendent

LYNN — Residents will be asked to weigh in on the search for the next superintendent for the Lynn Public Schools during several focus groups scheduled for this month.

Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham will be retiring at the end of the school year. Four community focus groups will meet this month, with four different times on each date for parents, Lynn Public School principals and administrators, Lynn Public School teachers and the public.

Glenn Koocher, from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), will facilitate the groups. The MASC was previously selected by the Lynn School Committee as the firm to help with the search for the city’s next school superintendent.

The City Council, at the recommendation of Mayor Thomas M. McGee, recently passed a home rule petition aimed at closing the city’s budget gap, which would also eliminate the residency requirement for the superintendent. The petition also has to be approved by the State House of Representatives, State Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker.

“The purpose of the focus groups is to allow the community to participate in giving feedback, respond to questions and have group discussion on the important aspects of the new superintendent,” said Robin Ennis, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff.

The first focus group will be Monday, March 19. The first two sessions will be held at Lynn English High School at 50 Goodridge St. — a session for parents will be from 8:45 to 10:15 a.m. and one for school principals and administrators will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Two other sessions will be at the Lynn City Hall Council Chambers — the first session there will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. for Lynn Public School teachers and a second session, which is open to the public, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Community focus group sessions will also be Tuesday, March 22. The first two sessions will be at Lynn Classical High School at 235 O’Callaghan Way — the parent session will be from 8:45 to 10:15 a.m. and one for teachers and administrators will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

On the same day, two sessions will also be held at the Lynn City Hall Council Chambers — a session for Lynn teachers will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and a public session will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

On Thursday, March 22, two focus group sessions will be held at the Lynn Tech Field House, including one from 8:45 to 10:15 a.m. for parents and another from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. for Lynn teachers and school administrators.

Two public sessions will also be Saturday, March 24 and Monday, March 26 at the Lynn City Hall Auditorium. The March 24 session will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the March 26 session will be from 6 to 8 p.m.

A job listing for the Lynn superintendent outlines that candidates must be licensed as a superintendent of schools in Massachusetts, with a doctorate degree preferred. The candidate must have a minimum of 15 years in school administration and teaching experience, with a comprehensive knowledge of school budget and finance and experience with capital projects. The application deadline is March 30 with a projected starting date of July 1.

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