Superintendent Priya Tahiliani made it very clear in her remarks at the School Committee meeting on Monday night that she “has no intention of leaving this district.”
Tahiliani’s comments came before the committee took a vote on whether to extend her contract from February 28, 2024, to June 30, 2025.
She went on to say, “I am not looking for another job, I am proud of what I have accomplished and becoming part of a larger education community. There is still much work to be done.”
Tahiliani took over the reins of the Everett school system in the midst of the pandemic.
As a result, many of the goals for the local schools that Tahiliani had outlined to the search committee were delayed as she focused on COVID-related issues, including remote learning for students.
At the last meeting of the School Committee on December 6, the issue of making changes to the superintendent’s current contract was objected to by the incoming new members of the School Committee who will take office on January 3.
They made clear in no uncertain terms their view that the present School Committee should leave the matter of extending Tahiliani’s contract to the new committee.
Although the committee approved some technical changes to the superintendent’s contract two weeks ago, they postponed taking action on the contract extension until their meeting on Monday night.
Several members of the School Committee expressed the view that because of COVID and the basic upending of the school learning process, Tahiliani essentially had lost a year and that the extension of the contract end date would give her the opportunity to try to meet the goals that she had proposed during her interview.
In addition, members pointed out that the end date in the original contract of February 28, 2024, could be disruptive to the entire school system since it would mean a possible departure in the middle of the school year.
Before the vote on extending the date, Ward 6 School Committee member Tom Abruzzese said, “I could not agree more with the superintendent. We have found the top candidate in the state and perhaps the country.”
“The extension would allow (Tahiliani’s ) full vision to come to fruition,” said committee member Samantha Lambert.
School Committee member Dana Murray, commenting on the February 28 end date, said, “It’s not a good idea to have kids with an interim superintendent.”
However, School Committee member Millie Cardillo noted that in the contract, the end date could be extended to June 2024 and “would not leave students high and dry.”
The committee then voted on the motion to extend the contract and it failed on a 5-5 vote. A vote was then taken on reconsideration and it lost again, 5-5.