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For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Members of Holyoke Local Stakeholder Group Announced

Advisory Group Will Make Recommendations for Turnaround Plan

HOLYOKE - Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Mitchell D. Chester today announced the members of the Holyoke Local Stakeholder Group, a temporary advisory body that will create recommendations for a district turnaround plan that will be drawn up in the coming months. On April 28, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education declared the Holyoke Public Schools to be a chronically underperforming (Level 5) district. Under state law, that designation triggered the creation of a Local Stakeholder Group with representatives from specific constituencies. (For the language in the law, see: Chapter69 Section 1k.) The members of the group are:
  • Holyoke Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Paul Hyry-Dermith (superintendent's designee)
  • Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse (School Committee chairman)
  • Holyoke Teachers Association President Gus Morales
  • Kelly Full Service Community School Principal Jacqueline Glasheen
  • William J. Dean Technical High School Associate Principal Vionette Escudero
  • Shelly Whelihan, a teacher at Lt. Elmer J. McMahon Elementary School
  • Bridget Reilly, a teacher at Dean Tech
  • Jennifer Keitt, a parent at Maurice A. Donahue Elementary School
  • Marie Auguste, a parent at Morgan Full Service Community School
  • Vilma Soto, a parent at Peck-Lawrence Full Service Community School
  • Edgardo Comacho, a parent at E.N. White Elementary School
  • Debra Sicilia, director of areas for Holyoke and Greenfield at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
  • Yasmin Otero, regional director of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
  • David Cruise, president and CEO of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County
  • Bill Ennen, program director for regional programs at the Innovation Institute at MassTech Collaborative
  • Stephen C. Huntley, executive director of the Valley Opportunity Council (representative of early education and care chosen by the commissioner of the state Department of Early Education and Care)
  • Jeffrey Hayden, vice president for business and community services at Holyoke Community College (representative of higher education chosen by the state secretary of education)
  • Erin Hebert, Holyoke High School class of 2014 (community member selected by Mayor Morse)
The Holyoke Teachers Association chose the teachers appointed to the Local Stakeholder Group. Commissioner Chester chose the administrators from a list of volunteers. Commissioner Chester also selected the representatives of state and local social service, health, child welfare and local workforce agencies. The parents were chosen by parents from school-based organizations at Morgan, Donahue, E.N. White and Peck-Lawrence. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education checked with schools and was told that those were the only four in the district at which parents elect representatives to the school-based organization (a parent-teacher organization or site council). The Local Stakeholder Group meetings will be open to the public, and the group's first meeting will be from 3-5 p.m. May 27 at the Holyoke Public Library. The dates, times and locations of the group's other meetings will be posted on the Holyoke Public Schools website. Over the span of 45 days, the group will meet and give recommendations to Commissioner Chester and the receiver, who will be named in the coming weeks. For more information on Level 5 districts, please see: Level 5 Districts. ###

Last Updated: May 20, 2015

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