The Natick School Committee devoted nearly the first hour of its June 12 meeting to thank Public Schools Supt. Dr. Anna Nolin and her executive assistant Rose McDermott for their service to the town. Members of the public, past and present town officials, and School Committee members were among those sharing thoughts and remembrances on Nolin and McDermott, both of whom have worked for the town for 20-plus years.
Nolin heads to Newton to become the superintendent at that larger school district. McDermott will stay with the town, serving as assistant director of activities for the Community Center (McDermott was described as the very first person in the school system that one School Committee member’s family met when they came to town.)
The term “bittersweet” came up more than once during this tearjerker of a meeting, as colleagues wished Nolin and McDermott well, but emphasized how much they’d be missed. Nolin was praised for her communication skills, leadership during the pandemic, and passion for diversity, equity and inclusion. “The most important thing you have done is you’ve always put our children first, our students first, and always made sure our teachers and staff had what they needed,” said Lisa Tabenkin, former School Committee chair.
Tributes included a student playing “Ode to Joy” on the violin, a resolution read by State Rep. David Linsky, and a cake crediting Nolin and McDermott for being the school system’s secret sauce. Oh, plus some actual special bolognese sauce from former School Committee member Hayley Sonneborn.
Nolin began her remarks lauding McDermott’s leadership. She also credited school families for making a strong comeback from the pandemic years with a return to many school traditions as well as the introduction of new ones. Nolin ticked off a list of programs and services that the next superintendent will inherit (Bella Wong will be the interim superintendent during the coming school year.).
“I know as the lead learner of this organization that we are never finished and that improving is what we do,” said Nolin, who earlier in her career planned to remain an English teacher. “No organization or leader, team, parent, student or teaching corps is perfect. There is so much more to do. But I wanted to just take this moment to thank all of you…
Other agenda items on the School Committee docket included expansion of the METCO program, and an after school child collaboration and transportation expansion update.
School Committee Chair Dr. Shai Fuxman concluded the meeting with a brief superintendent search update. A task force has been formed to identify and hire (with approval of the full committee) a search firm and to propose the make-up of a search committee.