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Wellesley superintendent Bella Wong's farewell letter to staff

Posted by Leslie Anderson  November 10, 2011 01:29 PM

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Here is the text of Wellesley school superintendent Bella Wong's letter to staff announcing her resignation:
November 9, 2011

Dear Colleagues,

We are in the process of developing school budgets for FY13 and planning for FY14 in the context of discussions for a possible tax override. If approved, a debt exclusion override would increase the Town’s tax base. However, ongoing public concern over School operational protocols has placed the School Department in a defensive posture and has undermined my capacity to advocate effectively for the benefit of the school district at this critical juncture. I have, therefore, tendered my resignation to the School Committee, effective at the end of this school year. This should allow the School Committee sufficient time to conduct a successful search for a new superintendent. My hope is that this will also serve as a decisive start of other adjustments that will be
made to assure the community of the commitment of the School Department to serve the needs of the Town’s students, using best and sound practices in all areas of operations.

This school year will conclude my eleventh year in the District over a 14-year period, six as assistant superintendent and five as superintendent. I am proud of the work completed over my tenure and look forward to productive months ahead which will include opening of the new high school, continuing work on narrowing achievement gaps, and articulating our vision for building capacity for the 21st century. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time serving with you, lauding your accomplishments and especially, observing our growth together.

Over my years in Wellesley, I have learned so much from you about education and leadership. To lead in a way to assure the integrity of one’s core beliefs and values requires one to first know one’s self. With every difficult decision I have made, I feel I end up knowing myself better than I ever did. I arrived here at 37 and will leave at 51. These years in Wellesley have imparted a critical imprint on me professionally and personally. During this time, I left the classroom to move to a central office position, became a parent, agonized over the decision to resign to stay at home with my children, and then made another difficult decision to return to work. Each of these career and life decisions was made in the moment and reflected what was best for my family, my work and my love and commitment for both.

As a leader and as an individual, I have always strived to make decisions that were fair and right. Doing what is in the best interests of our students has been my greatest inspiration and highest priority. When I opened schools with you this year, I did not anticipate that this would be my last year as your superintendent. There is certainly more work I had hoped to complete with you. While not anticipated just months ago, I know at this moment the decision feels sure and right, because it is in the best interest of the school district as a whole and therefore, for me as well.

Have no doubt, it has been and continues to be my privilege to work with you.

Sincerely,
Bella

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