By Shawn Regan
---- — HAVERHILL — Mary Malone, Haverhill’s assistant school superintendent since 2011, is leaving to lead the Ayer-Shirley School District.
The two-town School Committee voted 4-2 Tuesday night to offer Malone the job and she accepted later that night. The committee will now begin negotiations with Malone, who is expected to take over when Superintendent Carl Mock’s contract expires June 30. Although Malone’s pay has not been set yet, the salary for the job was advertised between $155,000 and $165,000 a year.
Malone, who earns $120,000 a year, is Haverhill’s lone assistant superintendent. She is primarily in charge of instruction and curriculum.
Superintendent James Scully said he will begin looking for her replacement immediately.
“I have worked with Mary since 2002,” Scully said. “She’s a great person and I’m sorry to see her go. We will miss her, but this is a great opportunity for her.”
A lifelong resident of Haverhill, Malone worked as a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal before she was promoted to assistant superintendent three years ago. She could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Scully said he will look for someone with a solid background in school administration in Malone’s replacement.
“Principal experience is a plus, but the main role of this position is to keep up with the ever-changing state education rules and mandates,” Scully said, adding that is open to hiring someone from inside or outside the Haverhill district.
The assistant superintendent is one of three positions under the authority of the School Committee, with superintendent and business manager the others. As such, the committee has final say over hiring Malone’s successor.
Haverhill’s other senior school administrators are Leighton O’Connor, who oversees the school budget and financial issues, and Theresa Senio, the district’s Special Education director.
Malone’s decision to leave Haverhill continues a recent trend of school administrator defections.
Last month, officials announced that Nettle Middle School Principal Michael Rossi is leaving at the end of the school year to become the next principal of Marshall Middle School in Billerica. And around this time last year, Haverhill lost Consentino School Principal Stephen Sierpina to a school in Methuen. The School Committee also recently voted to begin negotiations with Scully to extend his contract, which expires this summer.
The towns of Ayer and Shirley are just northwest of Littleton, about 25 minutes from Haverhill by automobile. The district serves roughly 1,700 students — about one fifth of Haverhill’s student population.
The other finalists for the Ayer-Shirley job from the pool of 24 applications were George King, assistant superintendent and Hale Middle School principal for Nashoba Regional School District; and Ned Pratt, director of Pupil Personnel Services for Leominster Public Schools. The School Committee interviewed the finalists last week.