BCS Superintendent contract to expire

Public pressure from the community and faculty with BCS led to a special meeting this past week that saw a vote pass electing to not renew the contract of Superintendent Kristen Martello

Amid increased pressure from both the public and faculty members at Berlin Community School, the BCS Board of Education voted to not renew the contract of Superintendent Kristen Martello this summer during a special meeting held Monday, Feb 4.

After approximately an hour of nonpublic executive session to discuss the future of the superintendent position, the board came back to public session to vote.

The vote was 7–2 to not renew Martello’s contract, with Dennis Quinn and Fran Viscome voting against the move. Meanwhile, board president Jocelyn Lewis, board vice president Rebecca Holland, Jeffrey Greenberg, Jenine DelPalazzo, Lisa Asare, Lisa Kehoe and Brandy Titus all voted in favor of the motion.

“As board members, we have the responsibility to be silent observers in the governance of our school. I believe I can speak for the board in saying that this was not an easy decision for anyone to make,” Lewis said, following the vote. “As always, it is our role to make difficult decisions in the best interest of the students.”

“The board has rendered a decision to not renew the contract for the superintendent; at this time, it is my sincere hope that our community can begin to heal and forge a sense of togetherness that fosters continued lifelong learning and global citizens as we strive to provide an excellent education for the students of Berlin Community School,” Lewis added.

Martello did not make any comment regarding the decision following the vote.

The special meeting saw a crowd of more than 50 attendees, with an overwhelming majority having come to support those who spoke during public comment against Martello’s’ contract being renewed.

Berlin Borough Education Association President Dali Kilpatrick had previously called for the resignation of Martello at the board’s reorganization meeting Thursday, Jan 3, after presenting a vote of no confidence.

Kilpatrick spoke again during public comment at the most recent meeting, reading a statement written by the BBEA.

“The morale in our building is fading and something needs to be done,” Kilpatrick said during public comment. “We couldn’t say we are the teachers we strive to be if we didn’t speak up and sincerely let you, our leaders, know that we are in need of change.”

Six additional community members spoke to address their concerns regarding BCS over the past three years, citing concerns of bullying and inaction starting at the top.

Martello became superintendent in February 2016 and her contract is set to expire June 30. According to Dan Long, solicitor for the board, a superintendent must be made aware that their contract will not be renewed in advance, in writing, 30 days per contract year with the district. Martello could not be reached for comment.