Ryan-Ciardiello Alleges School Committee ‘Dirty Politics,’ Calls Colleagues Bullies

Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello, Haverhill School Committee member.

Haverhill School Committee member Maura L. Ryan-Ciardiello is not mincing words in the New Year when it comes to her views on the 2018 board.

In a scathing Facebook post on Thursday, the former committee president called out her colleagues for alleged dirty politics and bullying directed at Vice President Scott W. Wood Jr.

At issue for Ryan-Ciardiello is the sudden proposed shift in policy when it comes to selecting the group’s president. In 2008, the elected officials unanimously voted that the current vice president would be elevated to president the following year. “It has always been done that way and worked well,” Ryan-Ciardiello reasoned. Just days into the New Year, Ryan-Ciardiello alleged that “dirty politics” have begun.

“A few members have a personal vendetta against Vice President Scott Wood, the longest serving member. Their intentions are not to better serve our children. They are intentionally bullying others by dragging them into their dirty politics and embarrass our VP and the entire Haverhill School Committee,” she said. “Unfortunately, this is the worst possible time for their pathetic political games.”

School Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr.

Asked Sunday for confirmation, Wood told WHAV he has likewise heard three fellow School Committee members seem poised to block him from attaining presidency of the body. “Since we established the position of vice president (during January, 2008), the vice president has without exception become the president,” he explained.

“It’s really looking for a cop out to vote against me to make it sound like a policy decision, but it is really a personal decision…if you’re making a policy based on your personal dislike of a member, that really says something,” Wood added. He said the continued divisiveness on the board may harm the search for a new superintendent.

Wood, who is beginning his 15th year on the committee, last served as president in 2014. He said, “No school superintendent wants to work for a divided school committee. That’s part of the reason the current superintendent (James F. Scully) is retiring.”

Ryan-Ciardiello did not respond to WHAV’s request for comment and did not name names or elaborate on specific instances of bullying.

Instead, she closed her social media post by including a few choice hashtags: “Put students first,” “Stop backroom deals” and “Shame on all of it.”

Ryan-Ciardiello, Wood and colleagues President Gail M. Sullivan, Sven A. Amirian, Paul A. Magliocchetti and Richard J. Rosa will debate the merits of candidate finalists later this month.