The Boston School Committee today announced its two finalists to replace Brenda Cassellius as Boston School Superintendent: Mary Skipper, currently Cassellius's counterpart in Somerville - and former network superintendent of BPS high schools - and Tommy Welch, currently the Region 1 K-12 superintendent for BPS, who oversees 15 schools in Charlestown, East Boston and the North End.
Both live in Boston. The past three BPS superintendents - Cassellius, Tommy Chang and Carol Johnson, were all hired from other states.
The School Committee will hold a series of public interviews of Skipper, starting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, and a similar series of interviews with Welch on Friday. More details on the interviews, which will be livestreamed on Zoom.
According to BPS, Skipper:
[J]oined SPS in July of 2015 following an outstanding career at Boston Public Schools, and quickly made her mark in Somerville as an innovative and visionary thinker, a passionate advocate for all youth, and a strategic systems builder whose approach includes leveraging community resources to support students. Before going to Somerville, Superintendent Skipper was Network Superintendent of High Schools for BPS, where she oversaw 34 high schools serving approximately 19,500 students. During her time as Network Superintendent, Boston High Schools achieved the lowest drop-out and the highest graduation rates in BPS history. Among her most notable accomplishments while at BPS, Superintendent Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy (TBA) as the founding Headmaster in 2002. Superintendent Skipper holds a Bachelor's in English and Latin from Tufts University. She earned a Master's in Education Policy from Harvard and a Master's in Education Leadership from Columbia Teachers College. Superintendent Skipper and her husband Peter reside in Dorchester and have three children.
According to BPS, Welch:
Supports 15 schools, serving over 7,000 students across Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End: two high schools, 12 elementary schools, and an early education center. Dr. Welch’s service in urban education spans over two decades. His work prioritizes the improvement of the academic outcomes of students and connects leaders and resources within the network to provide a coherent instructional vision for all schools. Prior to coming to BPS in 2015, Dr. Welch was the founding principal of a middle school and later a high school in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles. His classroom teaching experience focused on English learners and special education inclusion in the lower elementary grades, as well as English at the high school level. Dr. Welch is a graduate of Occidental College and the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2020, he earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership at Boston College. Dr. Welch lives in East Boston with his wife and is a parent of two BPS students.
Drew Echelson, currently deputy BPS superintendent of academics, will serve as acting BPS superintendent between June 30, when Cassellius leaves and the new superintendent takes office.