Amid Retirement Talk, Scully Gets 1-Year Contract Extension

The Haverhill School Committee on Thursday extended Superintendent James F. Scully’s contract through June 2018 after the district’s leader told his two most vocal critics in a closed-door meeting that he plans to retire after one more year of service.

In a brief statement following the vote, Scully made no mention of his possible retirement, merely thanking students, teachers, the public, and “most of you who made complimentary remarks,” referring to School Committee members. “If you people didn’t challenge me every week, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve the aggressive agenda we did.”

Committee member Sven Amirian questioned the committee’s plan to vote on extending Scully’s contract before giving him a performance review.

“I have a hard time voting on a contract that we haven’t had a chance to discuss. We were not allowed to talk about the context surrounding that contract,” Amirian told his colleagues.

In the private sector, Amirian said, a contract extension wouldn’t be given without first having a formal discussion about achievement and performance.

Scully’s retirement announcement caught Amirian off guard.

“This is new news to me. I’m interested in finding out the superintendent’s true wishes. If the superintendent is retiring, then next year is transitional. How is he going to be preparing his transition team? When are we going to begin a search?”

Committee member Scott Wood Jr. said he hopes there won’t be a need for a transition any time soon. “I hope he continues to stay on board,” Wood said. “That’s my personal opinion.”

Gail Sullivan, one of two members who met privately with Scully to discuss the superintendent’s future, said she appreciated Scully’s offer to work with the School Committee on a transition to new leadership.

“Superintendent Scully was very gracious about saying he wanted another year and that he would help us with the transition. I will take him at his word that he is going to retire,” Sullivan said. “A year gives us some time to plan for our future.”

The other member in that meeting, attorney Paul Magliocchetti, said he was surprised when Scully mentioned that he planned to retire.

In light of the circumstances, I look forward to what the next year will bring,” Magliocchetti said.

Over the last several weeks, Magliocchetti and Scully’s relationship has seemed to deteriorate publicly. Magliocchetti said their private meeting “cleared the air.”

“It’s no secret that Mr. Scully and I have a volatile relationship, but there’s mutual respect,” Magliocchetti said. “A lot of the issues are (because) we are both passionate about education and about the kids.”

Committee members were nearly unanimous in their praise of Scully’s concern for Haverhill’s children.

“I’ve never seen anybody more dedicated to children. Whether we agree or disagree, he is doing what he believes is in the best interest of the children,” Wood said.

“Regardless of his position or mine, he’d always say no matter what people say and no matter what happens, I’m always going to do what’s right for the children,” member Shaun P. Toohey said.

“He’s the best superintendent we’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Committee members also pointed to the new Hunking School as a high point of Scully’s term as Haverhill’s superintendent.

Committee President Maura Ryan-Ciardiello praised Scully’s tireless and successful advocacy for the 1,000-seat school, which is set to open to some students next week.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini called the Hunking project Scully’s biggest achievement.

Fiorentini credited Scully with improvements in standardized test scores and school rankings, and with raising the graduation rate while lowering the dropout rate.

Fiorentini voted with the majority of the committee to extend Scully’s contract, with the current terms and conditions, for one more year.  Only Amirian dissented.


7 thoughts on “Amid Retirement Talk, Scully Gets 1-Year Contract Extension

  1. Mr. Scully has done a great job for us. Don’t let him retire. He should be given a lengthy addition to his contract. The city and the students will lose when he retires.

  2. Cant cut it as a city councilor, lets try the chamber, nope not that either, ahh lets go with school committee…
    Not a good track record Sven.
    You’d think Paully boy would’ve recruited somebody a little bit more qualified.

  3. I for one am very pleased that the School Committee decided to extend Superintendent James Scully’s contract for a year. He has done a great deal for the school system and the students of Haverhill ,the School Committee will be hard pressed to find a better replacement when that time comes.

  4. jim scully has done a great job for Haverhill schools…..lets hope that he will stay on for 10 more years….just think of what our schools would be like with gail Sullivan, 7 amirian or magliochetti was our superintendent of schools ?

  5. Lets hope the Superintendent stays long term.. Mr. Sven Amirian has been the worst modern member of the school committee, he has added nothing except trying to pad his own pocket by holding the office. Mrs.Sullivan is just a mean person who has a high sense of self worth from working in school districts smaller than Haverhill High School. Mrs.Sullivan, you have the longest serving urban Superintendent sit back and enjoy the ride, you may learn something.

  6. Paul Magliocchetti, you’re a fool !
    When you tried to ingratiate yourself with the Haverhill Hispanic Coalition by inviting them to a school committee meeting to publicly interrogate Supt Scully on issues he had already made decisions on you undermined his authority and position. I’d be very surprised if Mr. Scully has any respect for you whatsoever after that totally unprofessional move.

    Gail Sullivan…you’re the most intentionally negative divisive board member this city has ever seen. Given your self-absorbed impression of yourself you somehow have come to think ‘you’ are in charge of the school system. Whenever Supt Scully leaves and a transition is required the very best thing that could happen for the city is for you not to have anything to do with it. Hopefully voters have been paying attention to “your” performance and vote you out!!

    • Guess ’tis true ^ Jack Haverhill IS the consentino principal!

      Thank you School Committee members Amirian, Sullivan, and Magliochetti for putting facts and school performance over politics. The people of Haverhill who call the state, read DESE reports, and speak to teachers too afraid to speak up to a bully administration know what is REALLY going on. Letthem keep talking Amirian,Sullivan, Magliochetti. Keep shining a light on FACTS.