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Secretary to School Committee Mary Jules. (Spenser R. Hasak)
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Lynn School Committee signs contract with its new secretary

LYNN — The School Committee and its next secretary Mary Jules agreed to a three-year contract on Tuesday night.

Jules, the former City Election Coordinator who will earn a salary of $75,000, started her new position on Nov. 13 and the contract expires June 30, 2021.

"I'm very happy with the terms of the contract," Jules said.

The School Committee, during the interview process for its next secretary, voted to set a salary range for the position of $75,000 to $80,000.

School Committee member Michael Satterwhite characterized the terms as "more than fair.

"(Mary) has jumped into the job," said Satterwhite. "Her communication style is on point and she's been able to get me the right answers, from the right people, promptly. I'm excited to have this important position filled because it's been a long two months since Tom (Iarrobino) retired. I'm confident Mary will be a strong asset for the Lynn School Committee, Lynn Public Schools and all stakeholders."

Jules was selected by the committee last month and replaces Iarrobino, who left in September after 21 years on the job.

Her job responsibilities include assisting the School Committee and Superintendent Dr. Patrick Tutwiler in general administrative operations, ensuring the committee receives all relevant information and materials necessary to make an informed decision in a timely manner, serve as an official liaison with the district-wide network of PTO/PTA groups and School Councils and attending School Committee meetings.

As secretary, Jules has the right to speak on the committee's behalf, but the role of media relations officer, which used to be designated to Iarrobino, has been eliminated from the position. Tutwiler is the point of contact for the schools.

The School Committee also signed a three-year contract with Deputy Superintendent Debra Ruggiero, which was agreed to two weeks ago in an executive session.

Under the contract, which expires on June 30, 2021, Ruggiero will be paid a salary of $160,000.

Ruggiero was appointed to her new role by Tutwiler in September after serving as the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction since January. She started her position last month, joining the district's other Deputy Superintendent Kimberlee Powers.

Under the terms of the contract, vacation time can be paid out at the end of the year if unused, but cannot be rolled over.

The School Committee decided to no longer agree to vacation accruals in superintendent and deputy superintendent contracts, as past deals allowed paid time off to accrue for decades and then get cashed out at the highest salary upon their retirement.

Ruggiero, a Lynn English High School graduate, has worked for the Lynn Public Schools for 32 years. Her tenure has included a variety of teaching positions and 11 years in principalship roles, most recently at Harrington Elementary School.

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