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Hanley announces retirement plan

Superintendent opts to end education career

Dale Hanley (click for larger version)
January 13, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — After five years of captaining the school district through some very choppy waters, Superintendent Dale Hanley is retiring when her current contract ends in June.

"She's leaving the district a lot stronger than when she got here," said School Committee Chairman Jack Jovan, adding he was "surprised she decided to retire, but I understand it. A superintendency is a stressful job."

Hanley came on board in summer 2005, inheriting a district in a state of meltdown. It was $3 million in deficit and had just laid off 55 teachers; families were fleeing in droves to other districts; and the state had slapped it with an ignominious "underperforming" label, one step shy of complete state takeover. Adding to the trouble was a severe lack of cooperation between schools and town, and symbolizing it was the condition of the high school, where the library was literally falling off the building.

Town Manager Chris Clark declined any significant comment for now, saying he wanted "to hear it from her first." He said he had ridden with Hanley to Boston for a school building project meeting Tuesday and they talked about negotiating her contract, but she never mentioned retirement.

"I've heard rumors [about her departure] three or four times since I got here, but that's a better source than most," Clark said after being told Jovan had confirmed it.

Hanley said she didn't have time to talk about it Wednesday evening since she was between meetings, but promised to do so Thursday afternoon, after this paper's deadline.

Former teacher's union President Martena Shea, a retired librarian, was surprised both by hearing of Hanley's announcement and the fact she won't stay to see the school project commence.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

Stonebridge Press
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