ORR begins preparations for the new school year

Jul 15, 2020

The Old Rochester Regional School District Joint School Committee hired a new Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations and has started committee meetings to brainstorm on reopening plans for next year. 

Superintendent Michael Nelson said that the chosen candidate, Howard Barber, has 12.5 years of school business experience and will be president of the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials this year. 

The school district’s former business administrator, Paul Kitchen, announced that he would leave his position a year ago. The district was unable to find someone to take his place until July 15. 

He is currently the Director Of Finance, Operations & Human Resources at Hampden Wilbraham Regional School District. 

Barber was at the virtual meeting and said that he was “extremely excited for this great opportunity.” He said he particularly looked forward to building relationships and said that he would hopefully have a “great and long relationship” with the school district. 

Cary Humphrey, chair of the Massachusetts Superintendency Union #55, worked with his company Embrace Home Loans to secure 1,000 masks, which he wanted to donate to the school. 

The school committee gratefully accepted the donation. Humphrey said he hoped other organizations would follow in his employer’s footsteps. 

Nelson said the school district won’t make a decision on how it will deliver classes until the beginning of August, but as of now, the state commissioner of education is encouraging schools to prioritize in-person education. 

A committee of stakeholders for the high school and junior high school met for the first time today, and stakeholders at the elementary level will meet tomorrow. 

They plan to meet as a whole group once a week, with subcommittee meetings more frequently. 

“It will be a busy summer, but obviously this work is paramount,” Nelson said. 

The school committee will also hold a policy subcommittee in August to address how to more actively make the school more antiracist.