Update: Hingham Public Schools
About the episode
“Every day is a new challenge that we may not have an answer for.” – Interim Sup’t Gary Maestas
Gary Maestas has been on the job for just two months. He says he spends most of his time as interim superintendent of Hingham Public Schools putting out fires. “There was a void, not having a superintendent in the seat, so my time has been occupied managing crisis issues on a daily basis. Every day, it’s just, do what you can.”
It’s a wide-ranging conversation, but we wanted to know more about his vantage point, outside in, on Hingham’s biggest challenges. “I think there are a number of challenges that we’re dealing with today that are clouded by Covid. Covid has put a level of pressure on our teachers and our administrators in the district. They weren’t thinking about pandemics when they were getting trained to be educators,” he said. “And I think we’ve struggled through that. I think that’s a significant challenge that all schools are dealing with, but here in Hingham there’s such an emphasis on excellence. It’s very uncomfortable for me, and for our principals and teachers, to roll something out that you’re unsure if it’s going to work well or not.”
Maestas said establishing a strategic plan in time for the permanent superintendent is high priority. “A strategic plan that will chart the course of the school district for the next three to five years,” he said. “That’s extremely, exceedingly important. Even building the budget, you know, where do we want to go? What are the priorities? What does the data suggest that we should be doing for our children? What are the needs? The strategic planning process allows that fact finding to take place, and then we build a plan around it. So to me, that’s a key essential for my time here, and I say that with a great deal of emphasis, because it’d be extremely helpful for the next superintendent to have a guiding document to understand what the stakeholders of the community believe are priorities, and where you should put your effort.”
As for classroom-level priorities, Maestes feels a strong emphasis in the strategic planning will be on social emotional learning; diversity, equity and inclusion; and maintenance and upkeep of facilities like a new Foster School building.
Our conversation ranges from the lawsuit lodged against HPS by parents against the mask mandate to Covid spending and the budget to priorities for the months ahead and the latest on the search for a permanent superintendent. Join us!
Listen to our first interview with Gary Maestas from August: https://thehinghamcast.com/back-to-school-with-delta-2/
Find all of our 38 episodes here: https://thehinghamcast.com/episodes/