FordWalker 110x130 21023Ford Walker 

UPDATED Feb. 12: Members of the School Committee were so eager to hire the district’s new second-in-command that they approved the contract before approving the appointment when they met the evening of Thursday, Feb. 9. 

Both votes for Monakatellia “Mona” Ford Walker, who was strongly recommended by the superintendent, were unanimous. As deputy superintendent for teaching and learning, Ford Walker is to succeed Roderick MacNeal Jr. effective July 1; MacNeal is leaving to take over as head of Chestnut Hill School. As deputy superintendent, Ford Walker will be able to temporarily fill in for the superintendent should the need ever arise.

Ford Walker's three-year contract goes through June 30, 2026. She is to be paid $179,000 the first year, $182,580 the second year and $186,231 the third year.

Homan cites 'deep knowledge'

At the meeting, Elizabeth C. Homan, superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, described the lengthy recruitment, interviewing and testing aspects of the hiring process; earlier in the day, she posted online a similar message to local families. She said her choice was based on her assessment as to which of the three finalists had the strongest and most relevant skill set. She said Ford Walker has a “deep knowledge of what is required,” had shown herself to be “student- and equity-centered” and possesses experience “complementary to mine.”School Committee logo

Homan said Ford Walker has been an administrator at the elementary, middle-school and district levels. Her references praised her demonstrated qualities including “humility,” “approachability” and “exceptional leadership skills.”

Committee member Jeff Thielman was impressed by her interest in the town, its students and its residents and said she was “exactly what we need.”

Committee member Paul Schlichtman moved approval of the contract, with Bill Hayner seconding the motion. Committee member Len Kardon moved to approve the appointment, seconded by Hayner, with, again, a roll-call vote of 7-0.

Ford Walker was present and called Arlington a “special community” and a “special town” that wants the best for its children. “Thank you for the opportunity,” she said.

She is earning her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Read her résumé here >> 

The other two candidates were Damon Smith, in his 12th year as the principal of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School, and Thad Dingman, in his ninth year as principal of Dallin Elementary School in Arlington.

Watch the Feb. 9 meeting on ACMi:

Jan. 27, 2023: Decision expected on deputy superintendent position


This news summary reported by YourArlington Assistant Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, and updated Sunday, Feb. 12, to add a link to Superintendent Elizabeth C. Homan's online statement recommending her preferred candidate. 

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