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More Pittsfield City Councilors Decry Superintendent Pick

A stone building with a colonnade sits below a grey sky amid snowdrifts.
Josh Landes
Pittsfield, Massachusetts City Hall.

More Pittsfield, Massachusetts city councilors have expressed dismay with the school committee’s selection of a new permanent superintendent. 

Joining Patrick Kavey, who released a scathing statement about the choice of interim superintendent Joe Curtis Thursday, are councilors Anthony Maffuccio and Earl Persip. Persip said hiring from the inside doesn’t address the district’s inability to retain students and staff.

“We’re just bringing someone in from the current administration that hasn’t addressed this problem or done anything towards it,” he told WAMC.

Maffuccio claims it was a rigged process from the beginning.

“City politics as always played a role in it and that’s why Mr. Curtis was hired in my opinion,” said Maffuccio.

School committee chair Katherine Yon defended the 4-3 vote selecting Curtis in an interview with WAMC, calling him deeply familiar with and invested in the Pittsfield community.

Earl Persip's Complete Statement To The School Committee:

Hello All, 

I second Councilor Kavey’s comments. This was a prime opportunity to evolve and move past the same old tactics that have failed us in the past. I thought Pittsfield was ready for a more progressive future.

Our school department is administration top heavy, and we keep investing in curriculum that does not serve our children. Your choice for superintendent all but guarantees this will continue.

Parents want to know that their children are well cared for, that they’ll be ready for the world, and that they are encouraged/stretched academically by highly qualified teachers. We continue to see teachers and students leave the district, and we have no real plan on how to improve what’s happening. We lose valuable, qualified people because teachers can go elsewhere in the Berkshires and make more money and get the support they need to help students.  I wonder if anyone actually went out and talked to teachers and parents about this decision. I thank the three members that voted for what was right and not what was easy. Like Councilor Kavey said, you missed the mark to move us in the right direction. 

Anthony Maffuccio's Complete Statement To The School Committee:

I would just like to say that I join with my two colleagues and there comments and that this is typically Pittsfield Politics playing a roll in our community and doing a disservice to our Children and our Teachers, we had a chance to think Outside the Box and choose a Qualified individual to lead the City School System to a new Outlook and Direction, instead of the failing and underperforming system that we tend to be comfortable with. We here in our Community having been failing our Teachers for years for under paying them for the quality they are, we have failed our Students, and have such a high rate of out of district transfers each year to other communities, we have under performance for years with in most of our School's so yes the Cities School Committee took the easy Political Driven way out and chose the easy route instead of standing up for what is best for our Children and Teachers in this Community. I like to commend the three School Committee Members who voted for change and had our Community best interest at heart and not cave into Pittsfield's Political choice.


Councilor Tony Maffuccio

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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