McLaughlin in as Springfield superintendent
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | February 06,2013
CHRISTIAN AVARD STAFF PHOTO
Assistant Superintendent Zach McLaughlin, far right, was hired as Springfield’s new superintendent at Monday’s School Board meeting. He will replace outgoing superintendent Frank Perotti, middle. Looking on is Steven Hier, director of business services.
SPRINGFIELD — The search for the school district’s new superintendent is now over.
In a unanimous vote, the Springfield School Board selected Zach McLaughlin at Monday night’s meeting. He will replace outgoing superintendent Frank Perotti on July 1.
McLaughlin, 37, was offered a two-year contract and a $122,500 annual salary with benefits, according to School Board Chairman Scott Adnams.
The decision came down to McLaughlin and Union Street Elementary School Principal Martha Potter, Adnams said. McLaughlin and Potter met with the public, chamber of commerce members, parents and various school and town officials last week as part of the interview process.
Adnams said it was a difficult decision because both candidates were well-qualified for the job. McLaughlin said he was “humbled by the School Board’s decision and looks forward to the challenges ahead.”
“A citizen said to me that they felt Springfield should be one of the best districts in the state. I agree. We have that capability and people are going to see some great things happen in the next few years. I’m excited,” McLaughlin said.
Potter, who attended Monday’s School Board meeting, publicly thanked the board for considering her application and wished McLaughlin the best of luck at his new job.
“I don’t want anyone to think tonight that I’m not thrilled. This is a move in the right direction,” she said.
McLaughlin was greeted with applause shortly afterward by residents, faculty and staff. School Board members Kenneth Vandenburgh and Bill Harbeson congratulated McLaughlin publicly as well.
Vandenburgh said it was “extremely difficult” making a decision because McLaughlin and Potter “were well-prepared” for the job. Harbeson agreed.
“You guys definitely have the well-being of the district in your mind and heart. This was a very tough choice,” he said.
McLaughlin is from Maine and both of his parents were educators, according to his biography on the school district’s website. His father taught special education and his mother taught biology.
McLaughlin earned a bachelor’s degree in politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., master’s degree in teaching at Washington University at St. Louis, and certificate of advanced graduate study in educational leadership at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts.
McLaughlin has worked in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Missouri schools. He has also worked in China and South Africa. He is a former Springfield High School vice principal and he replaced Dr. Vincent Hawkins as assistant superintendent in December 2011.
Perotti, the outgoing superintendent, was hired in 2008 and is in his sixth and final year.