School retirements: Neary principal and three teachers/specialists

Right: Neary School Principal Linda Murdock will be retiring in June. (Photo from her blog)

More administrative changes are in store for the Southborough school system next year.

Outgoing Superintendent Dr. Charles Gobron announced that Neary Principal Linda Murdock and three other long term K-8 staff members will retire at the end of this school year.

The news of Murdock’s retirement was made public at Wednesday’s Southborough School Committee meeting. (Click here for videos of the meeting.)

Murdock has been a Southborough principal for 16 years. She spent her first 11 at Trottier Middle School before transferring to Neary.

Gobron told the committee that she is leaving “big shoes to fill.” His goal is to select her replacement by mid-April.

A search committee will screen applicants and recommend semi-finalists to his office. The committee will be co-chaired by Trottier Principal Keith Lavoie and district Director of Technology Jean Tower. It will also include:

  • 3 teachers
  • 3 parents
  • School committee member Paul Desmond

The notice to parents went out on Friday afternoon. (Gobron told the school committee, “I have to wait because if they see the ‘one call’, they’re going to think that there’s no school.”)

At the same meeting, Gobron announced the other retirements. Each staff member was lauded for the great contributions they have made to the schools during their tenure:

  • Kate Lord, 4th Grade teacher, Neary School: She has worked at the school since the 70’s. Gobron referred to her beginnings as a Special Education specialist during years when the school transitioned “from pull out to inclusion” and the incredible contributions she made. Murdock praised her as contributing tremendously to the school. Murdock said, “I’m impressed with the way she knows her kids as well as the way she runs her classroom.”
  • Betty Sobol, Guidance Counselor, Neary School: She has worked at Neary since the 80’s. Murdock said she feels fortunate to have worked with Sobol who is “excellent at working with parents and families.”
  • Jan Herzog, Librarian, Finn & Woodward schools: She has worked in the schools since the 90’s. Gobron said that Herzog worked through a time where library’s changed from being a place where books were stamped out to being the hub of the school. Principal James Randall said, “She has been an excellent school librarian. They’re not always easy to find. She’s an expert in the field of children’s literature.”

The emailed announcement of Murdock’s retirement sent on Friday was customized per school. Below is the version that was sent to Woodward students’ families:

Dear Woodward School Parents and Guardians,

I would like Woodward School parents and guardians to know how thankful I am to Linda Murdock foir her sixteen years of very dedicated service to the Southborough Public Schools. As many of you have heard, Ms. Murdock will be retiring from her position as principal of Neary School on June 30, 2014. Parents and guardians who will be part of the Neary School community next year will find a new principal at the herlm. Ms. Murdock has been the consummate professional, always setting high expectations for students, for staff members, and most especially, for herself.

I had the opportunity to work with Linda Murdock during the eleven years she was principal of Trottier Middle School and I cannot begin to list the many ways she contributed to the excellent reputation the school enjoys today. In 2009, she agreed to transfer to Neary School where she has instituted a number of innovative and dynamic practices that have left an indelible mark on the culture of the school.

We are in the process of setting up a Screening Committee, consisting of parents, teachers, administrators, and support staff, for the purpose of reviewing resumes, interviewing candidates, and recommending semifinalists for the position. We hope to have a new principal of Neary School selected by April vacation.


Charles E. Gobron, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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