Assistant Greg Martineau promoted to district Superintendent

by beth on December 21, 2018

Post image for Assistant Greg Martineau promoted to district Superintendent

Last night, the combined school committees interviewed their one internal candidate for the Northborough Southborough Superintendent.* They must have liked what they heard because Assistant Superintendent Greg Martineau got the job.

The interview was held the night following a Combined School Committee Meeting to discuss the results of the community survey and focus groups. According to the search consultant, there was a high level of community participation. It was unusual to have 50 people join the focus groups (even compared to much larger towns) and 350 survey responses.

Consultant Mike Gilbert from Massachusetts Associations of School Committees said many responses stressed the need for seeking external competition. But many also expressed strong support for Martineau.

Gilbert also shared that 57% of parents surveyed said knowledge of the community was not important or only somewhat important vs 65% of teachers who said it was important or very important. Southborough School Committee Chair Paul Desmond looked at it differently. He pointed out that if you break it down to include “somewhat important”, 78% of parents indicated that community knowledge is important at some level, vs not.

Asked his opinion about the process, Gilbert recommended starting by deciding on their internal candidate. He said that people who want a bigger pool assume a search is about comparing candidates. Instead it should be about developing the profile of the person you want then comparing candidates to the profile. If you have the right candidate that matches the profile, hire that candidate.

He furthered that an external hire would spend at least the first year learning everything there is to know about the district. Calling the combined towns a “high performing district” he referred to top corporations “succession management” model. He described that if you have a successful culture you want to move forward, a candidate who already knows the culture can move “that flywheel” a lot easier.

Survey responses did show most to be happy with the district in terms of academics, extracurriculars, and committed faculty. But there were some concerns expressed including slipping academic excellence rankings. There were also inequity complaints. Some were about about difference in offerings between Southborough and Northborough schools and others related to unaligned curricula between schools within the same town.

Plus, Northborough parents were apparently unhappy that more progress has been made on free Kindergarten tuition than in Southborough than in their town. [Although free this fall isn’t a lock yet – given Town budget woes. It would have to pass Town Meeting first, and a final school committee approved budget isn’t even issued yet.]

The survey responses are expected to play play a role in the new chief’s first big task. According to Gilbert, new superintendents must create an entry plan for when they start. It’s part of the educational evaluation requirements. Martineau will be judged against it at the end of his first year.

Now here is the district’s announcement, emailed to parents today: 

The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough are pleased to announce that Gregory L. Martineau, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, was approved last evening in an open meeting of the Combined School Committees as the next superintendent for the district. Mr. Martineau will begin his new role July 1, 2019, pending successful contract negotiations. Superintendent Christine Johnson announced her retirement in September as of June 30, 2019.

He has served in his current role in the districts for four years and before this position was a former Elementary Principal in Hopkinton and Leicester, Technology Director in Hopkinton and Leicester, a technology integration specialist in Shrewsbury and a classroom teacher in Westwood Public Schools. Mr. Martineau holds a BA in Education from Northern Vermont University, Masters in Education from Lesley University and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from Clark University.

Opportunities to meet with Assistant Superintendent Martineau will be announced shortly. His appointment follows outreach to stakeholders in the form of surveys and focus groups by our school committees in collaboration with Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC).

Paul H. Desmond, Chairperson, Superintendency Union #3
Helynne B. Winter, Chairperson, Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee

The appointment means the districts will now have to search for someone to fill Martineau’s current job.

*I’m sorry I didn’t post notice of the interview meeting this week. In midst of my pre-holiday scramble, I missed when the agenda issued on Tuesday. The interview night was on the initial schedule that the school committees posted early into the search process. That was listed as a combined school committee meeting. When the agenda for the 19th was posted without an interview on it, I mistakenly assumed there had been a schedule and process change.

1 Frank Crowell December 26, 2018 at 11:55 AM

I didn’t know that we were running the school system like a corporation (Mr Gilbert’s comment on superintendent succession). Will Mr Martineau be running this as a business and take a hard look at Southborough school population, the number of schools we have and at least hand wave a justification for keeping all properties?

Did the school committees take Mr Gilbert’s advice and create a profile for what they wanted in a new superintendent? If so, what is that profile? Or is it just better to assume that the members of the committee did not want the task.

Mr Martineau has spent four years in our system. Does he not have any accomplishments that can be mentioned in the letter announcing his appointment? Since he worked in both Hopkinton and Shrewsbury, he must have had insights as to why those two school districts are $2000 per student less expensive than ours. In four years did he look to apply that knowledge?

Why was a survey sent only to current parents? Why not parents of former students? Why not all the taxpayers? Are these not the committees’ customers as well? 

As far as a “successful culture” would this include allowing an embezzler to steal our money for 18 months? Or is it knowing that this can occur and TM still says yes every year to school budgets no matter what?

Glad Mr Gilbert could spend some time with our district. Of course he works for a MA taxpayer funded lobbying organization so we should expect some attention.

2 beth December 26, 2018 at 2:01 PM

I’m not sure how you think the committee was supposed to send out the survey, but it was a public invitation for all community members. I posted the opportunity on the blog. And 11% of respondents were neither parents or staff members. Some of those were residents without kids currently in the system.

3 Frank Crowell December 26, 2018 at 2:40 PM

Beth – No, I did not see that announcement, but thanks for pointing this out. I’ll keep a shaper look out next time. I do find it ironic that the school committees count on this board to get the word out on their announcements, but refuse to use the board to discuss or answer questions.

4 beth December 26, 2018 at 3:43 PM

I don’t think they rely on the blog. But I do think it is a good question to ask – how the public is expected to learn about these opportunities and other public news.

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