EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 28, 2013

Andover gives McGrath 5-year deal

Staff report
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — ANDOVER — School Superintendent Marinel McGrath has been given a five-year contract extension with plans for a performance review at the end of the year to determine how much she will be paid.

The School Committee voted 4-0-1 last Thursday with David Birnbach abstaining, due to concern about the length of the contract. McGrath’s current contract is a three-year contract. It will expire June 30.

“We wanted to have some consistency given everything we’ve been through in the past two to three years,” said committee member Dennis Forgue, referring to the difficult teachers contract negotiation, and turnover in leadership positions. Andover has a new Andover High principal, assistant superintendent and director of student services, which is the top special education position.

Forgue also noted the ongoing Bancroft Elementary construction project, and the Town Meeting warrant articles concerning possible building projects for Andover High and a new prekindergarten building. McGrath will continue to oversee those and relatively new initiatives such as offering online courses at Andover High, and potentially creating a preK pilot program with Merrimack College.

“When Marinel came in, one of the first things she did was complete the strategic plan for the schools,” said Chairwoman Paula Colby-Clements. “We feel that that plan is moving forward and we’re moving forward on the right path. Five years was important so she could continue to shepherd that.”

A copy of the contract was not immediately available. McGrath made more than $202,000 last year, with about $3,000 in retroactive pay. She is the highest paid Andover employee.

Committee members said they will evaluate McGrath at the end of the school year and determine any raise then.

“At the end of the year is when we do a performance review which ties to salary,” said Colby-Clements. “Clearly we talked about whether the performance warranted five additional years and we certainly thought that it did.”

“Marinel has done a great job being a leader, bringing the leadership team, the principals, together to think as one district,” said Colby-Clements.

“She also has been very receptive to bringing in new programs. The EdEx program (taking courses online) is an example of that at the high school.”