Marlborough school superintendent to step down on July 2

MARLBOROUGH — Embattled Marlborough School Superintendent Anthony Pope will step down effective July 2.

Controversy has dogged Pope in recent months, with some teachers, residents, and School Committee members calling for his resignation.

Students protested during this past school year when he fired Adam Bakr, a popular high school administrator, after first placing him on leave. A guidance counselor accused Pope of shoving her during one of the protests and sought to press criminal charges, although a clerk magistrate determined there was no probable cause to issue a charge.

Mayor Arthur Vigeant, chairman of the School Committee, announced Pope’s resignation at a school board meeting Tuesday night. Pope was not in attendance. The School Committee had been scheduled to publicly discuss its evaluations of Pope’s job performance on Tuesday, but that issue was tabled.

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In May, the city’s teachers union took a vote of no confidence in Pope. He has also been criticized by some School Committee members, who said he missed an important deadline related to the high school’s accreditation.

Earlier this month, Pope insisted the district could move forward after the period of turbulence.

“It’s never too late if our children are important to us,’’ Pope told the Globe after a raucous June 12 school board meeting. At that meeting, some audience members held up signs that read, “No Hope With POPE’’ and “Lying? Bullying? & Incompetence? We Had ENOUGH!’’

At the June 12 meeting, Pope first addressed the events surrounding the alleged shoving incident. He apologized for what he called “misunderstandings,’’ but that was not enough to assuage his critics.

“He says he takes ownership for what happened but I think that is a big step from apologizing and admitting that what he did is wrong,’’ said School Committeewoman Michelle Bodin-Hettinger, after the June 12 meeting. “He is unable to do that.’’

Pope is two years into a five-year contract. School board members previously said that the contract allowed for Pope to be fired without cause with 120 days of severance pay, although it is unclear what sort of severance he will be given after his resignation, if any.

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Vigeant said Pope and the School Committee had come to a mutual departure agreement. Terms of the agreement will not be released until after it is signed, he said.

Maureen Greulich, Marlborough’s instructional leadership director, will temporarily fill in as acting superintendent.

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