Westport Superintendent of Schools Carlos Colley has alerted staff and parents that he is a candidate for a job in another town.
In a message to the community posted on the school department website today, the superintendent said he has learned that he is a finalist for the superintendent job in the Freetown-Lakeville district.
Dr. Colley, who had previously served as assistant superintendent of the Nantucket schools, took the Westport job early in 2009. Part of the appeal, he said then, was that it allowed him to remain close to the ocean. For a time in Nantucket, he had lived aboard a 1920s wooden sailboat that he kept at the town dock and would commute back to Martha’s Vineyard on weekends.
Dr. Colley began his career as a middle school and high school science teacher in Florida and New York. He was then a principal at two New York schools and on Martha’s Vineyard at the Chilmark School.
Coming to Westport, he said he understood and welcomed the challenge of working in a small district that faces perpetual fiscal challenges. Almost immediately he was confronted by the discovery of PCBs at the middle school, a problem that would require a cleanup costing over $3.2 million.
And as recently as this past summer, he said it might become necessary to close that same middle school after town voters rejected ballot questions that would have helped defray an estimated $675,000 budget shortfall. Voters later opened their wallets a bit for the schools.
Dr’ Colley’s full message reads:
“I wanted to let you know that I have found myself at a juncture in terms of my career and feel the need to explore other job opportunities for my future. To this end, I have interviewed for the position of Superintendent in the nearby district of Freetown-Lakeville. As of last evening, it was announced at their School Committee meeting, that I am one of the finalist.
“Over the last few years, we have made great progress in the Westport schools. We have an excellent SPED program that has allowed us to bring students back into the district and realize some savings that has been put back into the classroom. We have also improved technology tremendously, acquired new curriculum materials, provided staff with great amounts of staff development, and worked our way through the worst economic times since the great depression almost a century ago.
“All this has not been without some pain, but we have worked hard at managing our programs and resources to affect the students as little as possible. That being said, there is still much to do in Westport.
“Although I am seriously exploring the possibility of another career opportunity, the process will determine the outcome. I will continue to work with you and giving a 100% to the students of Westport. That is what they deserve. I will keep you posted on the progress of this process.
“I have come to appreciate all your support in making a great place for children and I know you will continue to do your best to keep fighting for our schools. They are the future of the town.”
Sincerely – Dr. Carlos M. Colley