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Receiver Appointed For Holyoke Public Schools


A veteran educator has been picked to lead a troubled western Massachusetts school district.

Stephen Zrike was introduced Monday as the receiver for the Holyoke Public Schools.

Zrike, who helped turnaround schools in Boston and Chicago will now be in charge of improving student achievement at one the worst school districts in the state.

" There is no question it is a challenge and it is not going to be easy work," he said. " But, there are districts across the country and in the state that are performing very well under the same circumstances with the number of English language learners and students in poverty."

Zrike grew up speaking Spanish. His wife has family in Holyoke. 

The state board of education voted in April to take control of the Holyoke schools after more than a decade of low student test scores and high drop out rates.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.