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UPDATED Aug. 3: With two meetings scheduled in a single week in a season when meetings often don’t occur at all, the Minuteman School Committee may be nearing resolution of a situation that has roiled the Lexington-based campus since early April.

That is the dramatic public opposition to the continued tenure of Superintendent-Director Kathleen Dawsonwho began work July 1, 2022, at the Minuteman Regional Technical Vocational School District -- and was put on administrative leave less than 11 months later, on May 11.

On July 18, after approving more than half-a-dozen routine matters, the committee members went into executive session, with no report immediately following. Attorneys representing Dawson and the committee were said to be participants in the closed meeting. Going behind closed doors on essentially the same issue also occurred Thursday, July 20.

Officials have been asked to let the media know if/when any decisions are made about Dawson's status.

The next Minuteman School Committee meeting is currently set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Reasons for 2 sessions

On the July 18 agenda, the reason for the closed session is described as follows:

“a. To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of the Superintendent-Director, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.”

On the July 20 agenda, it is given thus:

“a.  To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of the Superintendent-Director, or to discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual. b.  Pursuant to M.G.L.c.30A, Section 21(a)(2) for the purpose of discussing strategy as it relates to contract negotiations with non-union personnel: Superintendent/Director”

Earlier in the meeting, in one of her final acts as chair, Pam Nourse of Acton reported that the committee in closed session on June 13 had reviewed minutes of its previous closed sessions held in April and May and had determined that they ought to continue to be withheld.

In other business July 18, the committee:
  • In its annual reorganization unanimously chose Jeff Stulin of Needham as chair, Alice DeLuca of Stow as vice chair and Judith Crocker of Lexington as secretary. Crocker said that her service would have to “be with an asterisk,” because she is now interim representative from Lexington, whose leaders recently postponed a vote on whether Crocker would remain long term. “I will serve for as long as I am able,” she said.
  • Went into closed session and returned to open session to report having unanimously approved a contract hiring Katie Bouchard as interim principal of Minuteman High School; who had only weeks before been named acting principal. Bouchard has assumed the duties of widely admired Principal George Clement, whose contract ended June 30 but who ceased to actively serve weeks before that. Dawson’s having refused to renew Clement’s contract is a key reason that a wide swath of students, parents and teachers began publicly calling for her removal.
  • Welcomed Arlington’s new School Committee representative, Sarah Montague, attending her first meeting in that capacity. “I am extraordinarily passionate about this school,” she said.
  • Thanked Montague’s immediate predecessor, A. Michael Ruderman, praising him especially for his having persuaded all Minuteman member communities to support the recent campus reconstruction. “I am proud to have served with you,” Ruderman responded.
  • Unanimously voted to delay a vote requested by Acting Superintendent Kevin Mahoney to approve word changes in the student handbook, including some having to do with discipline. The matter now is to go to the policy subcommittee for review, then be brought back to the full committee. Mahoney, who had described the changes as “nothing significant or drastic,” said before the vote, “To be candid with you, I was expecting approval tonight.”
  • Unanimously adopted a calendar calling for committee meetings to generally occur on the second Tuesday evening of each month.
  • Unanimously agreed to internal budget transfers related to purchases at the end of the 2022-23 school year, including $38,000 for equipment for the pump station at Route 2A and the access road. 

June 22, 2023: Montague named town's new Minuteman School Committee representative


This news summary by YourArlington Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Wednesday, July 19, 2023. It was updated Aug. 3, 2023, to correct a time reference, to say that officials have been asked to comment if/when any votes are taken and to note that the next meeting is set for Aug. 15.