Bradford Elementary Staff, School Administration to Meet Monday to Begin Resolution of Faculty Complaints

Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Superintendent Margaret Marotta rode a Bradford Elementary school bus Sept. 5, 2019. (Courtesy photograph.)

A simmering dispute between the staff and leadership of Bradford Elementary School is bringing a fresh discussion of issues and a possible framework for dealing with future concerns.

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta is calling a Monday meeting of school staff and district leadership aimed at outlining “the school district’s plan to provide staff an opportunity to share their concerns about the school in a structured, confidential manner.” Marotta’s move comes after members of the Haverhill Education Association reported on the eve of February school vacation that 75% of school staff voted “no confidence” in Principal Louise Perry and Assistant Principal Nicole McGrain.

“These concerns are being taken seriously,” said Marotta Friday in a statement. “It is disheartening to me that for five years the staff has had concerns and that this was the platform used to share the information with the current district leadership despite multiple avenues of communication specifically created to share issues that arise within our schools. Conversation and communication are our best avenues to resolve these situations. Together, we will create a space of trust where people feel safe to voice any issues in a way that brings healing and resolution.”

Union President Anthony J. Parolisi told WHAV Friday he is “encouraged” by the first step.

“I’m encouraged by the superintendent’s response so far. Our members are encouraged that the district is responding to these very serious concerns that have been festering for years as members indicated in (last Friday’s) letter. We’re looking forward to working for a safe and supportive learning environment for our kids—not just a Bradford Elementary, but also across the district.

Last week, staff at the 520-student school wrote they took the no confidence vote as a last resort because they “have felt consistently ignored, silenced, retaliated against and dismissed.”

Parolisi backed his members for their “courageous” vote, saying “This was the safest way for them to raise their concerns.”

Following the meeting, Friday’s administration statement said, “the Superintendent will return to the school community to consider the next steps. A meeting with the greater community will be held in March to review findings and future direction.”

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