Dedham ‘Principal of the Year’ arrested for drunken driving

Dedham Middle School
Dedham Middle School, where Debra Gately has served as principal since 2009. –Google Maps

A Dedham school principal named “Principal of the Year” in 2015 is off the job after she was arrested and charged with drunken driving on Sunday.

Debra Gately, principal of Dedham Middle School, has been placed on administrative leave.
Debra Gately, principal of Dedham Middle School, has been placed on administrative leave. —Debra Gately / Twitter

Debra Gately, 44, principal of Dedham Middle School, was placed on administrative leave after her arrest, according to a statement from Dedham School Superintendent Michael J. Welch.

“Based on the seriousness of the charges, I determined the best course of action was to immediately place Ms. Gately on leave so she has the time to focus on her situation and we can conduct a thorough investigation while minimizing the disruption this situation is causing our community,” wrote Welch in the statement.


Gately was pulled over by police in Weston early Sunday morning.

According to the Weston Police Department report, a Waltham police officer driving behind Gately called 911 to report a seemingly drunk driver who was “all over the road.” The officer said the driver almost crashed her Ford Escape on four occasions. Once pulled over in a parking lot, a Weston officer said he asked if she’d consumed any alcoholic beverages that evening, to which she replied, “three vodka drinks.” The officer reported that “her eyes were extremely red, glassy, and blood shot.” She then failed several sobriety tests, according to the report. Police say she consented to a chemical breath test, which showed a blood alcohol level of .19.

Gately was arraigned Monday in Waltham District Court on the charge of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor. According to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office, she was released on personal recognizance. Her next scheduled court date is April 11. Information about her attorney was not immediately available.

Gately was awarded Principal of the Year by the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association.  She has been principal of the middle school since 2009. Before that, she was a teacher and educator in her hometown of Waltham for 16 years, according to Wicked Local.


The Associated press contributed to this report.



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