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Haverhill

May 11, 2013

Haverhill hires new special ed chief at $100K

Director: Wants to mix special education students into regular classes

HAVERHILL — The school district has filled one of its top jobs, which carries a salary of close to $100,000.

Theresa Senio, who lives in Delaware but is from the area, was approved yesterday by the School Committee to be Haverhill’s special education director. She replaces Maury Covino, who retired at the end of the last school year after 22 years here.

The job comes with an annual salary around $100,000, subject to contract negotiations, school officials said. Covino was making $110,000 a year when he left.

Senio is an administrative superintendent in charge of educational programs for the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families — a position she has held since 2004. She said that department provides services for about 49,000 children annually.

Prior to that, Senio was a special education director from 1997 to 2002 at a three-town school district based in Claremont, N.H. She said that district includes several inner-city schools and serves a student population similar to Haverhill’s.

In an interview yesterday with the School Committee, Senio said she has many years of experience dealing with exactly the kinds of challenges that Haverhill faces: A large population of students with learning disabilities and limited money in the budget.

She said her philosophy is creating a climate in which everyone works together to provide services to students with learning disabilities, with the goal of integrating them with the regular student population before they graduate.

“They are not going to have a paraprofessional behind them after they leave us, so we’re not doing them any favors if we don’t try to teach them to do it things by themselves,” Senio said. “There are students who will always need special services, such as someone with a brain injury. But there are others who can be returned to the mainstream if we are doing our job.”

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