School Committee Approves New Director of Student Services
The School Committee met last night to discuss contract negotiations between food service personnel and vote for a new Director of Student Services.
The committee has been searching for a replacement since January 2011.
The Chelmsford Public School Committee heard from Superintendent of schools Frank Tiano about the search and the district's top candidate.
The Director of Student Services is a central administration position within the school department and is a director of special education, an ELL coordinator, as well as being in charge of nurses, guidance counselors, and school psychologists.
The position was initially posted in January and received 23 applicants. Chelmsford School District Superintendent Frank Tiano said that his department “wasn’t satisfied” with the initial results and reposted the job.
“This is a position that we want to hire carefully,” said Tiano. “We have spent hundreds of man-hours in terms of looking for the next director of student services.”
Brad Brooks, M. ED. was the only candidate submitted by the superintendent to the Chelmsford School Committee.
“Brad (…) for the last five or six months, his name kept coming to the top of the list. He’s somebody that is known to us through his work with our staff members through his different roles in the collaborative MSEC that we engage with so heavily,” said Tiano.
Brooks, a Nashua, N.H. native, has worked for the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative (MSEC), out of Billerica, as a Program Director since July 2005. As such, Brooks oversees 75 staff members and over 150 students from elementary age to 21 years old. Brooks, a Master of Education graduate of Fitchburg State College, has also worked as a teacher at the Concord Area Special Education Collaborative and a Program Aide for the Perkins School for the Blind.
Brooks told the committee that after moving into collaborative special education, he had wanted to work for a public school system for some time.
“I became certified as a special (education) director about five years ago with the thought that one time I’d like to take (…) my skills and my talents working in a collaborative setting into a public school setting,” he said.
He said that the Chelmsford School District does things “the right way” and that it serves as a model to other local school systems.
“I work very closely with a lot of districts: districts in the Merrimack Valley, districts in southern New Hampshire. (…) Chelmsford is one of those districts that I have the utmost respect for.”
Brooks said that he has been preparing for a role as Director of Student Services for between 5 and 7 years and he envisioned being in Chelmsford “for a long time.”
Brooks also said that one of his strengths was analyzing trends within the district, and determining whether students would best be served being educated in one of the town’s schools, or being sent to a special education collaborative.
“Sometimes that’s a juggling act with what makes the most sense,” he said. “Is it more cost effective to send them out, or is it more cost effective to hire our own teacher?”