Tradition Favors Toohey Returning to School Committee

Haverhill School Committeewoman Susan D. Danehy.

Haverhill School Committeewoman Susan D. Danehy.

If tradition holds Shaun P. Toohey will keep a seat on the Haverhill School Committee even as at least three others remain in contention.

A joint meeting of Mayor James J. Fiorentini, city councilors and school committee members is set for next Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. It is the beginning of the process to replace Joseph J. Bevilacqua who was elected to the city council. Councilor William J. Macek said he will support tradition.

“I too wish to follow tradition too and have it go to Toohey. I’ve been contacted by up to a half dozen interested parties,” Macek told WHAV this morning. “I don’t really know where everyone else sits except President Michitson who has said he supports the traditional method of going to next vote-getter.”

Atorney Joseph C. Edwards.

Atorney Joseph C. Edwards.

Besides Toohey, interested candidates include Susan D. Danehy, who chose not to seek re-election last fall; former Haverhill High Classical Academy Dean Deborah Sasso-Flanagan and former Northern Essex Community College Trustee Chairman Joseph C. Edwards.

Toohey lost his bid for re-election last fall as voters re-elected Scott W. Wood Jr. and installed Gail M. Sullivan and former City Councilor Sven A. Amirian for the three seats up for election.

“I’ve been in the school system for 33 years. I recently retired so I have some time to devote to something of this nature. And I’m very interested in continuing to serve the students of Haverhill and the community,” Sasso-Flanagan said. She began her career in Haverhill at the Tilton Elementary School, said the top issues facing the school district include increasing test scores and overhauling special education spending.

“We have a huge special ed population. I think it needs an overhaul. I know we have a new interim special ed director, I look forward to working with him or whoever becomes the special ed person to really overhaul that budget and that whole program,” she said.

Former Haverhill High Classical Academy Dean Deborah Sasso-Flanagan.

Former Haverhill High Classical Academy Dean Deborah Sasso-Flanagan.

Edwards was the first alumni-elected trustee of Northern Essex Community College to be elected by his peers to serve as chairman. He was a college trustee between 2003 and 2013, becoming chairman in 2008. Edwards also served as chairman of the board of Essex Agricultural and Technical Institute for 14 years until its merger last year with North Shore Technical High School. He is also chairman of the Haverhill License Commission, where he has served 15 years—seven as chairman.

“I would be honored to serve the city,” Edwards told WHAV. “I have a wealth of experience and believe that I am an advocate of teachers and the administration with a goal of enhancing the level of learning of our students.”

Danehy said she would be interested in a two-year appointment to the school committee to see the completion of the Hunking School project “to the end.” She is the current committee representative and voting member on the Hunking School Building Committee.

“In terms of fairness, for this particular cycle, it was just a matter of looking at it for four years down the road and I just didn’t feel like I could devote the kind of time I wanted to, four years, but certainly two years was doable,” Danehy said.

3 thoughts on “Tradition Favors Toohey Returning to School Committee

  1. I support the more meaningful tradition relating to the importance of “A Vote”.
    When someone is running for office and they don’t get enough votes that they NOT be elected or appointed to fill ANY vacancies whether they be official or on a volunteer basis. The voters of Haverhill have voiced their opinion on Toohey. No way he should be appointed back on the committee.