New schools’ leader is chosen

Mar 20, 2020 by

Posted on: Friday, March 20, 2020

MELROSE — Dr. Julie Kukenberger was chosen Thursday, March 19, to succeed Cindy Taymore as the city’s chief educational officer.

The School Committee chose her unanimously over the other finalists for the school superintendent’s job, Brookline’s Benjamin Lummus and Revere’s Joshua Vadala.

Kukenberger, according to a Facebook post by the school board, has accepted the Melrose post, pending contract negotiations.

Dr. Kukenberger is currently the Interim Superintendent of Schools for the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District (2019-2020). Here prior central office experience includes: three years as Superintendent of Schools in Scarborough, Maine; two years as Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Haverhill, Massachusetts; and almost two years as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the North Hanover Township School District, New Jersey. In addition, she has been a Principal, Assistant Principal, and classroom teacher at the Elementary level in the North Hanover Township School District, McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey. Dr. Kukenberger has an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Boston College, a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Kukenberger and the other finalists were culled from an impressive field of candidates for the local superintendent of schools’ position, now held by Taymore, who will retire at the end of the school year. A Screening Committee forwarding their names to the School Committee was comprised of School Committee members Margaret Driscoll (Chair), Jennifer Razi-Thomas, and Jennifer McAndrew; Assistant Superintendent Margaret Adams; teachers Joellen Beaudet, Leslie Means, and Anthony DiBenedetto; school Principal Michael Tracy; community representatives Bert Whittier and Sheilah Gauch; education expert Russell Johnston; and parents Conor O’Keefe, Manjula Karamcheti, Ward Hamilton, Ani Talarico Breay and Jacy Ippolito.

The Screening Committee was assisted in this process by search consultants from the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at UMass Boston.

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