Bradshaw Chosen as New Norton Superintendent [VIDEO]
Mashpee superintendent chosen to take over for Dr. Patricia Ansay.
Ann Bradshaw of Mashpee Public Schools has been chosen as the new superintendent for Norton pending contract negotiations.
Bradshaw and Susan Cote, of E. Bridgewater Public Schools, came before the Norton School Committee in one last interview Tuesday night. Both fielded tough questions about past experiences in their schools.
Bradshaw was asked about an incident where a fifth grader said he hated a class and was going to kill everyone. Because this was the first time the student acted out, the incident was dealt with internally. Police were not notified until a week later when a concerned parent heard what happened.
“I had no doubt that this was not a credible threat,” Bradshaw said. She noted however, that from that point on, any similar incident would result in the immediate call to police and an email to parents. "Just because I don't think it was a credible threat doesn't mean other people don't think it is a credible threat.”
On another occasion, it was rumored that a teacher and 18-year-old senior at the school were in an inappropriate relationship. The principal and assistant principal monitored their interactions and interviewed the teacher, girl and her parents, but came up with no evidence that there was truth to the allegation. Some time later, it was found that he was sending inappropriate texts to the girl and he was dismissed from the school.
Though Bradshaw wasn’t sure what else could have been done, she said that the incident made her more cognizant of student behavior.
When asked about Norton’s weaknesses, Bradshaw said there weren’t many, but would explore ways to improve mathematics achievements.
Cote was also asked a series of questions pertaining to a controversial snow removal job at East Bridgewater Schools. In March of 2011, a concerned parent contacted Cote about the snow piling on school roofs. Cote asked the Emergency Management Chief and Fire Chief Ryon Pratt to check it out. He surmised that the roof needed to be cleared as soon as possible, and that he knew someone that would do it. Cote said that because it was deemed an emergency, she did not put the contract out for bid and gave Pratt permission to go ahead and reach out to contractor Brian Healey who not only cleared the roofs, but charged the town $53,000.
An independent investigation concluded that Cote violated the state procurement law. Though Cote was exonerated, she said that in retrospect she would have at least put in a few calls to see if they could get the job done for a cheaper price.
When asked about how the incident affected her relationships in town, such as with the Town Manager, Cote refrained from giving details.
“It actually made us even closer,” she began. “It’s just so difficult to talk about on TV. I’m talking about colleagues of mine, and I find it so inappropriate to talk about them on TV and I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. So I will say that it did make our relationship stronger.”
The school site visits provided insight into both candidates as well. While East Bridgewater proved to be a more quiet visit, Mashpee parents and school staff members praised Bradshaw.
“I get the feeling from Ann, and I talked to a couple of her references, and they just exuded confidence in her,” said School Committee Member Tom Golota, noting that one of the references is the director of Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.
Bradshaw’s references also noted that she attends a lot of school events, even sporting events an hour away in the rain. This mirrors the desirable quality that current School Superintendent Dr. Patricia Ansay demonstrates.
“I really, truly feel like her [Bradshaw’s] heart is in every little piece of what she does,” said parent and teacher Shawna Powers who was part of the Superintendent Search Committee. “I just see her as somebody who is a really good match for this town.
“I’m really happy with the experiences my kids have had in the schools so far and I really want to see basically a continuation of what we already have, and I think we have that in Ann. ”
The next step is for the School Committee to work on contract negotiations.