School Committee Approves Marotta’s Reorganization; Adds ‘Anti-Bullying’ Job

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Margaret Marotta attends her first Haverhill School Committee meeting as superintendent. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s new School Superintendent Margaret Marotta scored her first victory Thursday night when the School Committee unanimously approved her temporary reorganization of the department.

The organizational chart adds a new $78,000 “social-emotional learning and anti-bullying” administrator and calls for promoting Haverhill High School Principal Beth Kitsos to a chief academic officer. Marotta explained the reorganization was forced by the recent departure of former Assistant Superintendent Jared Fulgoni.

“Given that it is July, it didn’t seem to be in our best interests to attempt to find an assistant superintendent at this point in time,” she explained.

Kitsos will become the second chief academic officer, joining Darshan Thakkar who remains responsible for elementary schools.

Member Scott W. Wood Jr. was surprised the school budget already included money for the social-emotional administrator, formally called the director of staff and student support. He explained the post hasn’t been filled in 15 years, and Acting Director of Human Resources John O’Connor performed the tasks. However, Marotta noted the job description has changed. “The state and the country really are looking at safe and supportive schools—anti-bullying, positive discipline for students, meeting kids’ social-emotional needs and being proactive,” he said.

Haverhill School Committee member Sven A. Amirian. (WHAV News photograph.)

The job was hailed by member Sven A. Amirian. “More and more, we’re seeing the emotional wellness of students impacting their academics.”

Member Gail M. Sullivan called the position “an excellent idea” since O’Connor already has his hands full managing staff in “a district this size.”

Another change calls for giving the Therapeutic Education and Assessment Center of Haverhill—TEACH, for short—its own principal rather than a vice principal since the jobs both pay about the same. One focus of TEACH, located at St. James High School, is helping students with autism.

Wood said he is concerned about creating a second chief academic officer for Kitsos. He explained the move could increase the budget permanently should an assistant superintendent eventually be hired. However, he agreed to support the changes on a temporary basis. “Maybe this works out that it is a better setup long-term and the superintendent recommends this long-term.”

Vice Chairman Paul A. Magliocchetti praised Marotta’s changes, saying, “I actually think this is one of the cleanest organizational charts I’ve seen in a number of years.”