A dean at Brookline High School who claims he was passed over for the headmaster position because he is African American has filed a discrimination complaint against Superintendent of Schools Bill Lupini.
Adrian B. Mims Sr., who has worked at the school as a tutor, teacher or administrator since 1994, filed the complaint on April 6 with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination after Lupini appointed Newton North High School’s Deborah Holman as the next headmaster of Brookline High School.
In the complaint, obtained from the state by the Globe, Mims said that despite the purported commitment by Brookline public schools to diversity, the district under Lupini’s leadership “has a poor track record with respect to the employment of African Americans in higher-level positions.”
The complaint claims that a member of the team that interviewed the high school headmaster candidates told Mims that she did not believe that Brookline High School was “ready for an African American Headmaster” based on conversations that took place during the deliberations to select the finalists. The interview team member was not named in the complaint.
As a result of the alleged discrimination, Mims said he has suffered and continues to suffer emotional distress.
Lupini said Monday that he could not comment on Mims charge of discrimination, saying the school district’s response would be through the proper channels. An attorney representing the school district in the case did not respond to a phone call requesting comment.
Lupini did say Monday that Holman “was the best qualified candidate in our process.”
Mims, who lives in Randolph, could not be reached for comment about the complaint Monday. He told Brookline High School student newspaper “The Sagamore,” which first reported the complaint, that he would not comment on the case due to the advice of his attorney.
In February, Lupini hired Holman to become the Brookline High School headmaster beginning July 1. The appointment came after an interview team met with 11 candidates to permanently replace Robert Weintraub, who retired from the headmaster post last year. Holman and Wellesley Middle School Principal Jamie Chisum were picked as the two finalists for the job.
But Mims said he has seven years more experience than Holman and five more years more than Chisum as an education administrator.
In his complaint, Mims included a copy of the school district’s advertisement for headmaster position, which included a statement under the heading “requirements” that candidates with doctorate degrees were preferred. Mims said that in 2010 he received a doctoral degree in the educational administration program at the Lynch Graduate School of Education at Boston College, but Holman does not have a doctorate degree.
Lupini confirmed Holman does not have a doctorate degree. Holman has a bachelor of arts degree in history and studio art from Wellesley College and a master of arts in history from Boston College, according to Brookline public schools. She has been the vice principal at Newton North since 2008, served as interim principal last November, and had been a teacher at the school since 1996. Prior to that, she taught at the International School of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Mims was a tutor at Brookline High School in 1994 before he was hired as a math teacher at the school in 1995. He was promoted to associate dean of the school in 2001, and was the director of summer school for Brookline High from 2001 to 2007. He was promoted to dean of students at the school in 2007.
In his complaint, Mims said that he interviewed for the headmaster position on January 11 and Lupini told him on January 24 that he had not been selected as a finalist.
In subsequent meetings with the superintendent, Mims said Lupini told him he would have many opportunities to become a principal, headmaster or superintendent in other school districts.
In his complaint, Mims said he understood Lupini’s comments to be “his way of telling me to leave” Brookline public schools. In a second meeting with Lupini, Mims said the superintendent told him that he didn’t believe Mims was a “good match” for the high school and that he wanted someone with expertise in special education.
Mims said Brookline schools under Lupini’s leadership have a poor track record of employing African Americans in higher-level positions, and in his complaint he cited a incident in 2008 when he claims he contacted Lupini over concerns that the superintendent was imposing impediments to the retention of another African American employee at the school. According to the complaint, Lupini ultimately retained the employee, but then complained to Weintraub about Mims actions.