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Somerville Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi announced he will retire

Posted by Marcia Dick  March 17, 2014 11:20 PM

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The following was submitted by the Somerville School Committee:

Somerville – At Monday night’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Tony Pierantozzi announced his resignation for the purpose of retirement from his position as chief executive of the Somerville Public Schools. Pierantozzi will retire on July 5, 2015.

During his nearly nine years so far as the chief steward of the Somerville Public Schools, the district has continued to make academic gains, including posting substantial district-wide student growth in 2013 MCAS results that placed Somerville as the best performing urban district in the Commonwealth.

Beyond boosting test scores, the Superintendent oversaw the construction of two K-8 schools, instituted the house system at the high school, expanded art and music programming, instituted the El Sistema program, increased afterschool academic and enrichment initiatives, expanded the SMILE program, oversaw unification of the Healey School, supported the Winter Hill Community School in becoming an Innovation School and encouraged consideration of other innovation plans. He introduced Aspirations teams in the schools, creating new leadership roles for teachers and students alike. In the middle grades, he initiated an intramural sports program and re-introduced world language study. He has forged enhanced partnerships with local universities. He has begun laying the groundwork to enhance access to quality early childhood programs throughout the city as well as to further improve college access and career readiness for our graduates.

“Superintendent Pierantozzi has demonstrated an outstanding work ethic and a deep dedication to Somerville’s students, educators, and public education in general,” said School Committee chair Christine Rafal. “He has led faculty to create an aligned and coherent ecology for learning while at the same time encouraging innovative practices. These will be large shoes to fill so we are glad the Superintendent has given us plenty of notice to search for a successor who will keep our schools on the upward trajectory. We also give him our full support to maintain the momentum for the 2014-2015 school year.”

Pierantozzi has advocated at the state level on issues confronting urban schools. He currently serves on the Massachusetts Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery Commission, and is also a member of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Stakeholder Working Group. He is an active member of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the Urban Superintendents Network, which he co-chaired from 2008 to 2013. Pierantozzi is also a long-time member of the Somerville Rotary Club (President 2009-2010), and Middlesex Partnerships for Youth (MPY) where he served as President from 2011 to 2013; he is currently vice-President of MPY.

Moreover, Pierantozzi has earned a national reputation for leadership and innovation in student health and wellness, with several Somerville schools receiving USDA “Healthier School” Awards during his tenure.

“Our community is indebted to Superintendent Pierantozzi for a decade of bold leadership that has propelled Somerville Schools to tremendous achievements and has set us on a course for even greater success in the years to come,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “From day one, Superintendent Pierantozzi embraced what makes Somerville so special—the diversity, passion, creativity and dogged persistence of the people who call this city home. He recognized the great potential within the diversity of our city, and used that to not only make our schools centers of innovation, but to partner with the City and the community to make education more than what happens within a school’s walls. He made education in Somerville a community effort, one that educates the whole child, and our entire city has been enriched because of it.”

In announcing his decision to retire, Pierantozzi expressed deep appreciation for the opportunity to serve as Superintendent for a decade, and a sense of pride and honor in having served the Somerville community. His letter of resignation reads, in part:

“It has been my immense honor and privilege to serve our City, a city that respects and supports education like few others, as Superintendent for a decade. During my stewardship, due to the outstanding work of our staff, students, parents, guardians, and community partners, the School District has flourished in many ways. The collaboration, teamwork and unity of purpose developed during my tenure are the genesis of our work and emblematic of a City truly committed to helping every student maximize his or her potential.”

In thanking Pierantozzi for his years of outstanding service, the School Committee also announced that it plans to hire a consultant to help conduct a broad national search to attract the best candidates to Somerville. The search will be open and transparent, and will include substantial opportunity for public input. The School Committee will begin discussing the process for the search for the new superintendent at its upcoming Long Range Planning meeting on March 24.

The Somerville Public School district has a student population of 4,940 students housed in one K-6 school, six K-8 schools, one early childhood center, an alternative junior-senior high school, an adult learning center, and a comprehensive high school. US News and World Report’s special issue Best Colleges 2013 chose Somerville High School for a feature article about an urban school that consistently finds great college matches for the varied talents of diverse students."

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