Massachusetts Candidate Selected as Windham School Superintendent

February 26, 2016

 

by Barbara O’Brien

Several days after a public forum in which two final candidates for the job of Windham’s school superintendent talked about themselves and their future goals, school board members chose to offer the job to Richard Langlois, a longtime educator who currently serves as superintendent of schools in Marlborough, Mass.

Although a strong contender for the job and a favorite among many residents and faculty members, Dr. Tina McCoy was not given the nod. This came as a surprise to many who were following the process. School board members are, thus far, refusing to say what the vote to hire Langlois was. The vote was taken in non-public late on the evening of Feb. 16 and the minutes of that session, subsequently, sealed.

“It was a very difficult decision to choose between our Interim Superintendent Dr. McCoy and Mr. Langlois,” said School Board Chairman Ken Eyring, after the vote was taken. “I believe that Mr. Langlois will be an excellent leader for the Windham School District, based upon the results he achieved as the superintendent in Saugus and Marlborough. During those tenures, he formulated improvement plans that were used to substantially elevate the academic achievements of both school districts.

“All of the people we contacted to learn more about his leadership style and skills had nothing but exceptional praise for his abilities,” Eyring said. “I’m excited that Mr. Langlois will be our next superintendent and look forward to the positive impact he will have on our educational environment, our students and community.”

According to Langlois, his existing three-year contract with the Marlborough School District runs until 2018. Apparently, however, that contract will be terminated, as Langlois is scheduled to take on the superintendent’s job in Windham as of July 1, 2016. Langlois and Chairman Eyring signed the new three-year contract on Feb. 17, the day after the vote in non-public session was taken.

The contract between Langlois and the Windham School District calls for an annual salary of $150,000, substantially more than the amount for which the position was initially advertised. There will be savings to the school district, however, as Langlois will not be receiving health insurance benefits through his employment in Windham. Langlois’ contract may be terminated at any time by mutual consent.

“He is an experienced administrator who will bring exceptional skills, knowledge and experience to our district,” Eyring said. Eyring also thanked Dr. McCoy for the “excellent job she has done during the transition;” having taken over when former Superintendent Winfried Feneberg took the job as superintendent in the Kearsarge School District, after giving only a few weeks of advance notice. McCoy will continue as interim superintendent until June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

“It’s important to be part of a community that cares strongly about providing a quality education for the children, and I am very invested in making that happen,” Langlois said. “There are many similarities between the opportunities in the Windham schools and those of the other districts I’ve served – technology, accountability of faculty and staff, fiscal responsibility, even facility construction,” he said. “I am looking forward to working with the Windham School Board, the administration, the faculty, the staff and the community to move the school district forward.”

During the public session earlier this month, Langlois said he had reached the pinnacle of his professional career in Massachusetts and was seeking other opportunities. He also said that the commute from Windham to his residence in Bradford, Mass., is significantly shorter than the one from Marlborough. Langlois said he is eligible to receive retirement benefits from Massachusetts.

Langlois said his career includes experience as a secondary-level teacher, building administrator, district-wide director, assistant superintendent and superintendent. “As a candidate, I offer a broad understanding of the operations and management of a school system,” Langlois said, referring to the implementation of “The Race to the Top” initiative in Massachusetts, as well as the federally mandated “No Child Left Behind” program. “Most important, I understand the essential ingredients of highly effective school systems and the fiscal challenges and responsibilities associated with managing a school district,” he commented.

Langlois said he has eight years of experience as a superintendent in Massachusetts, first in Saugus, then in Marlborough. “I present a working knowledge of fiscal management, collective bargaining, curriculum and instruction, performance accountability, building strong school culture, construction and the renovation of schools, implementation of a digital learning ecosystem, using data to make informed decisions, personnel management, crisis management, parent outreach and community engagement, strategic planning and policy and procedure,” he said.

Langlois said he considers himself to be professional, inclusive, trustworthy, transparent, and accountable and that he values his integrity. “I believe in a school system of learning,” he said. “As a leader, I am committed to supporting a growth mindset where educators hone their skills at the highest level and take risk to enhance student learning.” Furthermore, Langlois stated, “Most important is the partnership I will establish with the school governance board, creating a team of six with a collective focus for the Windham school system.”

“I am a leader with integrity, passion and compassion for the students I serve,” Langlois added. “I fully understand the scope of responsibilities associated with the position of superintendent, and believe I have the requisite leadership skills and qualities, demonstrated success and the drive, as well as the dedication and capacity, to meet the needs” of the Windham School District.

Langlois received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of New Hampshire. He completed his teacher certification program at Salem State College in Massachusetts. He earned a certification in human resource management from the University of New Hampshire and his Master of Education degree in school administration from Cambridge College in Massachusetts. He has also attended various other education-based programs during the past eight years.

As for work experience, Langlois held his first teaching position at Trinity High School in Manchester, where he worked as a social studies teacher, as well as an interscholastic athletic coach. He remained at Trinity for three years. Langlois then went to the Timberlane Regional School District in Plaistow for three years, where he worked as a social studies teacher, and, again, as an athletic coach. Langlois then moved on to the Salem School District in New Hampshire, where he worked as a vocational placement coordinator and humanities teacher from 1981 to 1994, also serving in a coaching capacity at Salem High School. In 1994, Langlois went to the Haverhill School District in Massachusetts, as assistant superintendent for personnel and administrative services, as well as executive director of personnel and labor relations. He remained in Haverhill for 14 years. In 2009, he moved on to Salem State University, where he was an instructor for the education leadership program. Three years later, he took a job as superintendent with the Saugus public school system, also in Massachusetts. In 2013, he left Saugus and became superintendent of schools in Marlborough, a position he currently holds.

While superintendent in Saugus, Langlois said he helped to develop a strong infrastructure and assisted the district in rising from a level-three performing system to the higher level two, within a single year. By the time he left Saugus, according to Langlois, most of the schools in that district had reached the highest level one. ”I believe I have a moral obligation to deliver the best education to America’s children, as possible,” he said. During his 18-month tenure in Marlborough, Langlois said he created budgetary stability and accountability.