Superintendent Finalists Announced

Superintendent Search Screening Committee has forwarded the names of three finalists for the Superintendent of Schools vacancy for School Committee consideration.

The Melrose School Committee is pleased to announce that the Superintendent Search Screening Committee (Screening Committee) has forwarded the names of three finalists for the Superintendent of Schools vacancy for our consideration.

After the application deadline of February 20, 2020, thirty-three applications were forwarded to the Screening Committee and on February 27th, after a thorough review of the written application materials, the Screening Committee met and engaged in an extended discussion of each candidate, ultimately reaching consensus to invite nine candidates in for an interview.  All candidates accepted the invitation and were interviewed during the evenings of March 2,3, and 4.

On March 5th, the sixteen members of the Screening Committee reached consensus on the finalists and forwarded the following three educators for consideration as the next superintendent of the Melrose Public Schools (in last name alphabetical order).

Julie Kukenberger

Dr. Kukenberger is currently the Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District (2019-2020). Dr. Kukenberger’s prior central office experience includes: three years as Superintendent of Schools in Scarborough, Maine; two years as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Haverhill, Massachusetts; and almost two years as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the North Hanover Township School District, New Jersey. In addition, she has been a Principal, Assistant Principal, and classroom teacher at the Elementary level in the North Hanover Township School District, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. Dr. Kukenberger has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Boston College, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Benjamin Lummis

Mr. Lummis is currently the Interim Superintendent for the Brookline Public Schools (2019-2020). Between 2015-2019, he was the Special Assistant for Strategy and Performance in the Brookline Public Schools. Among his educational roles, Mr. Lummis has been a middle school English teacher in Needham and Cambridge, a design team member and Director of the Turning Points National Middle School Comprehensive School Reform Model for the Center for Collaborative Education. His leadership roles also include two years as a School Committee member in Cambridge, nine years working at the National Center on Time and Learning in Boston, and prior to his work in Brookline he was Vice President of Professional Development for EF Education First in Cambridge. Mr. Lummis has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Joshua Vadala

Dr. Vadala is currently the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Revere MA where he coordinates Pupil Personnel Services among his varied administrative duties. Prior to moving to this central office role in 2016, he was an Evaluation Team Leader at Revere High School and an Assistant Principal and Principal at the Whelan Elementary School in Revere. Dr. Vadala has also been a Special Education classroom teacher in Revere and Westford Academy in Westford MA (eleven years in total). Dr. Vadala has an Ed.D. from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a Master of Education in Moderate Special Needs from Boston College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Human Development from Boston College.

The school community will have the opportunity to meet these finalists when they visit Melrose during the week of March 16.  The Melrose School Committee will also interview the finalists during the week of March 16.  The schedule of these district visits and school committee interviews will be communicated when it is finalized. 

The Melrose School Committee would like to especially thank the members of the Screening Committee for their extraordinary dedication and commitment to this search process. The Screening Committee met on seven different evenings to prepare, review, interview, debate, deliberate and decide on the finalists presented to the Melrose School Committee. They were truly professional in this critical endeavor. Melrose should be very proud of these school community members.

The Screening Committee included:

School Committee Members Margaret Driscoll (Chair), Jennifer Razi-Thomas, and Jennifer McAndrew; Assistant Superintendent Margaret Adams; Teachers Joellen Beaudet, Leslie Means, and Anthony DiBenedetto; School Principal Michael Tracy; Community Representatives Bert Whittier and Sheilah Gauch; Education Expert Russell Johnston; and Parents Conor O’Keefe, Manjula Karamcheti, Ward Hamilton, Ani Talarico Breay, and Jacy Ippolito.

The Screening Committee was assisted in this process by search consultants from the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

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