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March 12, 2013

High marks for schools chief

METHUEN — The School Committee last night released a glowing review of Judith Scannell in her second evaluation since becoming permanent superintendent.

Members Evan Chaisson, Barbara Grondine and Lynn Hajjar Kumm comprised the subcommittee that evaluated Scannell on a range of criteria, including her relationships with the School Committee, the community, and employees; leadership; communication with the public; and management of finances and labor.

“This is my second review of the superintendent and this one, like the last one, is fantastic,” said Chaisson, who is also vice chairman of the School Committee. “Compared with other superintendents in the area, this is by far one of the best evaluations.”

Other members said they loved that she is from Methuen and participates in the community. “She sees what goes on here every day,” said Mayor Stephen Zanni, who is chairman of the School Committee.

The evaluation was based on points each evaluator gave to Scannell in relation to several dozen questions about her job performance and leadership style. Her overall score was 93.1 percent of the total possible points. In all but one category, communication and relationship with the public, she scored over 90 percent. She scored 86 percent in the communication with the public category.

Scannell was appointed interim superintendent in August 2010, just as former Superintendent Jeanne Whitten retired. The School Committee gave Scannell its blessing in January 2011 to be Whitten’s permanent replacement.

“I’ve seen superintendents come and go, and Superintendent Scannell was a great find and a perfect fit for the city of Methuen,” Grondine said.

Scannell, who was first hired at Methuen Public Schools in 1975 as a kindergarten teacher and was promoted from being principal at Timony and Tenney grammar schools to be schools chief, earns $156,569 per year.

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