Inside Stories

Three Down, One to Go

In the sports world, it’s said the toughest victory to get in a 4-out of-7 playoff series is the final one. The same can apparently be said for being named to head the Lowell Public Schools Department.

Interim Superintendent Liam Skinner already had two of the necessary four votes when Mayor Danny Rourke and School Committee member Fred Bahou co-sponsored a motion to forgo the search process and enter contract negotiations to give him the position on a permanent basis. This afternoon, a third vote was secured when Committeeman Dave Conway offered a ringing endorsement of Skinner.

“With much thought, and consideration, I have made a decision of whom I will support and vote for as our next superintendent of schools,” Conway replied to our request for comment. “My process was very inclusive. I sought advice and input from parents, teachers, administrators, staff, civic and business leaders. With their advice and my experiences as a teacher, administrator, and as a member of the School Committee, I am honored to support Liam Skinner to be our next superintendent of The Lowell Public Schools. I have known Liam Skinner for many years in a professional setting as fellow administrators. Also, I had the opportunity to observe him when he was a principal and I was a member of the school committee. I found Liam to be an exemplary principal, respected by parents, staff, and the community. For all these reasons I enthusiastically support Liam Skinner to be the Superintendent of the Lowell Public Schools.”

But where does that fourth and final vote come from, if it’s in the offing?

Commitee members Eileen DelRossi and Connie Martin already told InsideLowell on Wednesday they want to follow through with the search process, which was the original plan when Skinner was named interim last June.

Yesterday, Dominik Lay replied “at this time, I am still contemplating.” When we followed up today about when he expects to make his decision, Lay wrote “I will decide my vote at the meeting.”

Jackie Doherty, meanwhile, has kept her cards close to the vest according to a few people we spoke to who are keeping close tabs on the situation. She has not responded to our efforts to reach her since Wednesday.

Doherty and Lay were among the four members of the previous school committee to vote for Skinner during the search for an interim. DelRossi, Martin and Stacey Thompson, who served on the committee before being unsuccessful in her re-election bid, voted for outside candidates. Martin then changed her vote to make it five in favor of the long-time LPS educator.

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