Haverhill School Leaders Leave Posts Credited With Building Dream School in Bradford

In September 2016, Superintendent James F. Scully takes a hands-on approach during construction of the Hunking School.

Superintendent James F. Scully finished his eight-year tenure as leader of the Haverhill Public Schools Thursday with compliments from his employers ringing in his ears.

Both Scully and Assistant Superintendent Jared Fulgoni attended their final School Committee meeting this week. Scully officially enters retirement on July 1, and Fulgoni leaves to assume the superintendency in nearby Amesbury.

Both men were credited with helping the Hunking School community in Bradford to weather the transition from crumbling building to architectural gem.

Fulgoni became principal at the Hunking shortly before the engineering failures of the structure were discovered, and after a revolving door of principals had driven staff morale into the school’s sinking basement.

School Committee Vice President Paul A. Magliocchetti credited Fulgoni with improving life for staff and students at the former middle school.

“You turned that school around. You made significant strides in the performance of the school. You really took care of the staff, the parents, and you made the best of a bad situation,’ Magliocchetti said. “Then, when it came time to build a new school, you were there.”

One after another, School Committee members placed credit for the existence of the new Hunking squarely on Scully’s shoulders. Committeeman Scott W. Wood Jr. went first.

“Hunking wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for you,” Wood said.

Committee members listed accomplishments, beside Hunking, they considered key to Scully’s career, including:

  • All-day kindergarten
  • Revival of the HHS athletics program, including the addition of crew
  • Renovations at Trinity Stadium
  • Reduction of the dropout rate
  • Rising student achievement
  • Supported resurgence of the band program

Magliocchetti said looking back on his School Committee tenure, the accomplishments he’s most proud of couldn’t have happened without Scully’s support or leadership.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini said Scully took the reins of a school district that was heading in the wrong direction.

“When you came in, we had several schools on the verge of becoming Level 4 or Level 5 schools. It never happened because of Jim Scully,” Fiorentini said. “He moved people and he removed some people. He turned those schools around.”

While the superintendent’s professional accomplishments garnered praise, committee members were quick to point out the personal side that may have gone unnoticed.

Wood praised Scully’s “heart.”

“The hospital visits you made to children ... in Boston, or to teachers when something happened to them. You went out of your way,” Wood said. “That’s the stuff that maybe people didn’t see on TV, and doesn’t come up in the newspaper, but shows the true human being you are and the heart that you have.”

Fiorentini said people not closely connected to the School Department would not know the energy and passion that Scully showed throughout his tenure.

“I’ve never seen a person in my whole career with more energy and enthusiasm. He’s up early, up late, and he’s at every event,” Fiorentini said.

The mayor recognized Scully and Fulgoni with citations lauding their dedication to the schools and specifically Haverhill’s students.

Scully was grateful for the plaudits, but shared the credit.

“Being superintendent, you get the credit for everything. Jared’s been a great partner and you’ve been more than nice to us,” Scully said, gesturing toward the mayor. “It’s been the eight nicest years of my life and I’m very grateful to all of you.”