Haverhill High Grad Pfifferling Named Schools’ New Assistant Superintendent

Haverhill School Committee. (WHAV News file photograph.)

One of Haverhill’s Hillies is coming home to the public schools’ system starting this fall to assume the role of the district’s new assistant superintendent of finance and operations. On Tuesday, the School Committee voted unanimously to select Michael J. Pfifferling as a finalist to enter into negotiations for the role one month after contract talks broke down with Greater Lawrence Technical School’s Maria Silva.

A city native now living in Groveland, Pfifferling comes to the district after six-and-a-half years as the business manager in Wakefield, where he oversaw construction of a middle school building and assisted in the opening of the Early Childhood Center at Doyle School and the Purposeful Opportunities for Successful Transitions Academy in Wakefield for older special education students.

During an interview with School Committee members June 13, Pfifferling—who beat out Ian P. Gosselin for the position—was praised for his grasp on the challenges facing Haverhill’s students, said member Paul A. Magliocchetti.

“I appreciate you making the distinction between equality and equity, because that’s something that we grapple with here in Haverhill a lot,” Magliocchetti said. “A lot of people talk about equity but they get those two issues confused, so I appreciate that you made the distinction and you understand it.”

Pfifferling’s local ties as a former Hillie also won raves from Superintendent Margaret Marotta and member Scott W. Wood Jr., among others.

The candidate told committee members he’s anxious to wear many hats in Haverhill just as he has in his current role in Wakefield overseeing team of 10.

“I’ve always joked with my superintendent—I like to have a little fun at work—that when he gets hit by a bus I’ll be ready to step in, but I’m not looking to take his job,” said Pfifferling.

The current $130,000 job of business manager is held by Brian O’Connell. At the end of January, O’Connell withdrew from contract renewal negotiations after being pressured to quit to accommodate the new school administration. He left open the possibility he will pursue legal action.

Marotta expects to announce an agreement with Pfifferling at the June 27 School Committee meeting once Wood and fellow negotiation team member Gail M. Sullivan finalize a contract.

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