After holding a special meeting Friday, the Beverly School Committee voted 6 to 1 to appoint former Somerville superintendent Albert Argenziano to serve as the Beverly public schools' interim superintendent.
The interim search was fueled by the announced retirement of current Superintendent Marie Galinski, 64, after she gave her 90-day notice in March. Galinski served as superintendent for three years.
“He [Argenziano] is fabulous,” said School Committee President Maria Decker. “The committee all did reference checks over the past couple of days and those recommendations were all stellar. Each reference said he’s a people person, he’s a seasoned educator, he is a can-do individual that gets things done, a wonderful educator, that he is so well-versed in education and that he trains superintendents, nevermind being one for many years.”
Argenziano, 71, will serve on a part-time basis starting in June, and work with the School Committee until it finds a permanent replacement. In May and June, he will work with Galinski in order to make a smooth transition into the position, according to Decker.
“The interim superintendent will work with the School Committee to outline what we’re looking for in a permanent school superintendent and then help conduct the search, do advertising, and create a search committee,” said School Committee President Maria Decker. “Our intent is to name a person by the end of the calendar year.”
The School Committee chose Argenziano from among two other final candidates: former Swampscott interim superintendent Maureen Bingham and former Rockport superintendent Joseph Lisi.
Argenziano, who lives in Salem, was the Somerville superintendent from 1993 to 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree from Suffolk University, a master's in education from Salem State, and a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama.
“I’m really excited,” Argenziano said. “I’ve looked at Beverly very closely. I think they’ve had five years of stability in central office, great principals committed to the kids. It’s a nice place for six months but the challenge for me is not only to serve six months, but to assist the committee in completing the search for a new superintendent.”
The candidates, who were publically interviewed in the Beverly High School library on Tuesday, responded to an advertisement on the Massachusetts Association of School Committees website.
The ad listed various qualifications, including extensive experience as a superintendent and building administrator, strong interpersonal and communication skills, familiarity with the new teacher evaluation process, and a history of successful team building.
Argenziano said that although his pay has yet to be established, he plans on meeting with the School Committee within the next week to determine what he said will probably be a "per diem for the six-month period of time."