Barring any last-minute snags, Beverly School Superintendent William Lupini will be appointed to the top school post in Brookline tonight.
"I would expect that he would be approved," said Brookline School Committee chairwoman Marcia Heist. "We've gone broad and deep to check his references, and be really clear about his leadership style."
Heist declined to disclose the terms of the negotiations but said the Brookline school superintendent's job would pay between $145,000 and $175,000. Lupini, 44, was offered the position earlier this month after a series of interviews and site visits. He would replace Richard Silverman, who was hired in 2001, but decided last fall not to seek another contract with the town.
Lupini said he expects to finalize his contract by tonight. "They've offered me the position and I've accepted the position," he said.
With Lupini's pending exit at the end of the school year, the Beverly School Committee will have to choose its first new school superintendent in seven years. "We haven't decided on a replacement strategy," said Judith Cronin, chairwoman of the Beverly School Committee.
Lupini earned his doctorate from Lehigh University, and served as school superintendent in Kutztown, Pa., for two years before he was named school superintendent in Beverly in 1997. That year, he became the fifth superintendent to lead the Beverly school district in four years.
Cronin said Lupini brought stability to the school district at a time when the city decided to rebuild its elementary schools. Last September, the last of the six elementary schools was completed, and the school's redistricting plan fully implemented.
Cronin also praised Lupini's vision for the classroom. "He had a vision for Beverly that he has constantly pursued with respect to small class size and depth of our curriculum, and he really hasn't wavered from that vision since he's been here," she said.
Lupini said he applied for the Brookline job after being contacted earlier this year by the school district's search consultant. "The longer I spent there I realized that this was someplace I would really like to be," he said.
This was the second consecutive year that Lupini applied for a top school post outside of Beverly. Last year, Lupini withdrew his name after being named a finalist for the North Andover school superintendent's job. Last spring, he signed a six-year contract extension with the city of Beverly. He now earns $130,877 a year.
With the shift to Brookline, Lupini would oversee a larger student population and school budget. Beverly now has 4,700 students, and a budget of $39 million; Brookline has almost 6,000 students and a budget of $55 million.
Beverly School Committee member Nancy Brusil, who voted against Lupini's contract extension last year, credited Lupini for instituting teacher and administrator evaluations in the city, and lauded his management skills. "He has strong business management skills. He came to Beverly when we almost had no processes in place in what was then a $30 million a year business and put them in," she said.
While praised for his management skills, Lupini has not been immune to public criticism. In March, after he proposed closing one of the city's new elementary schools for budgetary reasons, he received a 200-name petition from outraged parents. The school committee rejected the idea.
Last year, Brusil openly questioned Lupini's decision not to rehire former high school principal William Foye, even after the City Council unanimously voted to ask the superintendent to reconsider his decision.
Also last year, the parents of an elementary school student, Daniel Gentile, were critical of Lupini's plan to remove mold from an elementary school after tests revealed Gentile had ingested the same mold that had grown inside his classroom.
Cronin and Brusil, of the Beverly School Committee, said finding another $1.2 million for next year's budget was a priority that would need to be addressed before starting a search for a new school superintendent.
Brusil, for her part, favors giving a chance to someone who has not held a superintendent's position before. She also believes the next superintendent's contract should not run more than three years. "I would suspect that 50 percent of the assistant superintendents in the state would love a chance at being a superintendent," she said.
Steven Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com.