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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.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.