From a strong sense of leadership to a continuous effort to improve the curriculum, School Superintendent Scott Holcomb received high praise during his annual evaluation.
Members of the School Committee had a lot to say during the review, which was discussed at the March 2 meeting. Chairman James McKenna said in his 21 years on the committee, the last 12 months had been unique and that Holcomb addressed numerous conflicts in a direct and immediate manner. He said there is never a perfect year—citing an unexpected drop in funding and leadership departure—but another superintendent would have failed where Holcomb succeeded.
“This was an exemplary overall evaluation,” he said.
The evaluation covered a number of topics, including leadership, management and operations, community engagement, and professional culture. Committee member Kathryn Hobbs said she compared the district to where it was five years ago and said “giant steps” had been taken. In her review, she said the opportunities offered to students have grown year to year.
“Five years ago we were extremely frustrated and now we’re optimistic,” she said.
Prior to being hired as the superintendent in 2017, Holcomb served as assistant superintendent for three years and was North Attleborough High School Principal for four years. He said the students are his highest priority and that his heart would always be in the classroom.
“There is no one individual, there’s everybody,” he said. “It’s [the school system] a reflection of how the community is doing.”
The student representatives also offered their opinion on Holcomb’s work over the year. Maria Fitian spoke of his persistence in making changes that help them to grow as students. Shruti Srinivasan said the 1-1 Chromebooks initiative has been a tremendous help and that they feel free to express their ideas. Sam Osa Agbontaen said Holcomb is very receptive to the voice of the students.
“You encourage us to make a difference in the schools,” said Fitian. “People like you are what we as students look up to.”
Kevin O’Donnell, secretary for the committee, also served on the Search Committee that went on to recommend Holcomb for the superintendent position. At that time, he saw the energy in Holcomb’s eyes and knew he was the right person for the job.
“You’ve been concerned with the safety of the students,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have someone like you on this team. A leader is only as good as the people underneath him or her. You back the team that is under you.”