Silver Hill’s Shepherd Appoints New Assistant Principal for First School Year Without Charter

Personnel changes are taking place as Silver Hill Elementary School plans to begin the first year without a charter on Aug. 28. (File photograph)

Ahead of former charter school Silver Hill’s first year integrated back into the Haverhill Public system, a new assistant principal has been named to work alongside Principal Margaret Shepherd.

In a letter to parents and staff, Shepherd announced the appointment of Haverhill High graduate Brendon Parker as second in command for the 2018-2019 school year. A former teacher at Golden Hill and assistant principal at JG Whittier and Consentino, Parker most recently served as the dean of students at Methuen’s Marsh Grammar School.

“With his background in working on social-emotional learning, he is a perfect fit for our school community,” Shepherd said in her letter. “He’s a hands-on leader and is even looking forward to monitoring our lunches and recesses!”

The upcoming school year is one of change at Silver Hill. In February—for the second time in eight months—teachers at the elementary school rejected the conversion to an “innovation” school. Staff voted 33 against to one in favor of adopting the model that is a hybrid between district-owned charter schools and standard public schools. Instead, the school returned to public control at the end of June’s school year after members of the Haverhill Education Association voted not to renew the charter.

Principal Shepherd received an automatic one-year contract renewal per the district’s education rules and regulations, though several in the Silver Hill community aren’t thrilled about her next year at the helm. WHAV has obtained a series of letters over the last several months from teachers expressing concern over the ethics of Shepherd and her Board of Trustees during the school’s post-charter transition.

“This school is becoming an unpleasant place to work and borders on a hostile work environment,” one letter read.

New Superintendent Margaret Marotta, who took over after the retirement of James F. Scully, told WHAV she is hopeful the Silver Hill community will remain a place where students are prioritized.

“I am still learning so much about Haverhill every day. Silver Hill seems to be an excellent school with very committed parents and staff, I am hopeful that this will be a year of joy and learning for the students at Silver Hill and across all of our schools,” Marotta told WHAV this week.

Parents and students will have an opportunity to meet both Parker and Shepherd at an open house on Monday, Aug. 27 from 3:30-5 p.m., ahead of the first day of school on August 28.