Smith praised as superintendent

A large increase was also asked for in the shared services budget. 

Martha's Vineyard superintendent Richie Smith, shown here during this spring's West Tisbury annual town meeting, was praised in an evaluation by the All-Island School Committee. —Eunki Seonwoo

Martha’s Vineyard Superintendent Richie Smith received high remarks from members of the All-Island School Committee for what was his first review in the position. 

Smith is embarking on his second year as superintendent; he was appointed to the position last year under a two-year contract, with a one-year evaluation period. 

Personnel subcommittee chair Kris O’Brien said at a meeting Thursday that after reviewing the evaluations submitted by school committee members, the “overall feeling” was that significant progress has been met, and that Smith has done a “great job.” Additionally, O’Brien said, different targets, like student learning goals and professional practice, were either met or exceeded. 

All-Island School Committee chair Amy Houghton agreed with this assessment. “Most people feel that Richie does a great job communicating, and he keeps people informed, and that has been a strength of his,” she said. “He relates to families very well, and he’s doing a great job in most areas.” 

Still, there are areas where people are hoping to see improvements within the school system. “I know people are concerned about the [Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System] scores and the culture up at the high school,” O’Brien said. 

Smith said there were various goals he was aiming for on top of what O’Brien mentioned, including getting the district fully staffed, improving students’ educational outcomes, and supporting more culturally sensitive curriculum and practices for students. Smith said a “school community approach” would be needed. 

“One of the areas we need — the schools have a strong interest in, I have a strong interest in, but we are not strong in — is our family engagement,” Smith said, adding this was a goal the schools needed to work toward this school year. 

Additionally, Smith said some initiatives were underway based on the previous year’s goals, such as co-teaching. 

Committee member Alex Salop said next year the committee will be looking for quantitative and qualitative improvements Smith brings as superintendent.

Houghton asked the committee members to draft their thoughts on Smith’s goals. 

The committee also considered whether to vote on extending Smith’s contract during the Thursday meeting. Committee member Skipper Manter moved to renew Smith’s contract and to refer it to the subcommittee to work out the details, including salary, and return with a proposal. The motion was unanimously approved. 

But Manter later pointed out that the vote itself was not on the agenda, and members of the public might want to comment before the committee made a decision. Rather than rescinding the vote immediately, the committee decided to let the vote stand to allow negotiations to move forward, and to rescind the vote at the next All-Island School Committee meeting to allow a discussion to occur. 

A discussion was also held by the committee members on whether there could be an option to host its own website to post meeting notifications. Currently school committee meetings have to be published through each of the town websites, which can make it difficult to update agendas if a town office is closed while others are open. No decision was made. 

Meanwhile, the committee was not as keen on approving a $9.6 million shared services budget Smith has proposed for fiscal year 2025. The proposed budget is about an 18 percent increase compared with the previous fiscal year, much of it stemming from contractual obligations and potential pay increases to some staff members. 

A final decision was not made on the budget during the Thursday night meeting, and the discussion will continue at a future meeting.


    • John– if your kid happens to be anything
      other than a privileged white christian kid,
      when they apply for a job in 10 years, they may
      encounter one of the MVRHS graduates who
      might give them a job because they had a
      “culturally-sensitive curriculum” rather than a
      ” intolerance oriented curriculum”.
      And of course, if your kid is a privileged white
      christian kid that starts a business , they might
      consider hiring the best
      candidate for the job regardless of their
      race,gender,ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation,
      because of that curriculum.
      That sounds like a win for everybody to me.

      • Obviously you haven’t taken the course. Attacking someone’s race, religion and economic status as you have done in your comment does not seem “culturally sensitive”.

    • A “culturally-sensitive curriculum” teaches students about cultures and how they interact.
      Companies look for culturally-sensitive employees, the offend fewer customers and fellow employees.

      MVRHs is an academic school, not a job training center. Their primary function is to prepare students to have a successful undergraduate experience and hopefully an advanced degree.
      A significant number Of MVRHS graduates have gone on to PhDs and gone on to give back to the community, they all have jobs.

      If you are concerned about you kid getting a ‘job’ I would suggest moving to the Upper Cape. They have an excellent trade school, My son just hired a new Marine Program graduate at $42.50 an hour, infinite overtime, fat bennies.

      If you want your kid to make over 150K keep they at MVRH, stay on they, work with the Superintendent and staff, they are well respected in the community (see the article headline, are you one of the few who disagree?).

      Your comment verbiage may lead some professionals to prefer to not deal with your kind..

    • “What is “culturally-sensitive curriculum””, if you have to ask you are not. Educated people know what it is.

    • Exactly, having three children in “elite” schools sub acceptance rate of 10% I can affirm that our educators are not teaching our students how to think but what to think. To hear my kids and their friends talk about researching the professors political leanings then tailoring their work product based on what the teacher wants to hear so they can get a good grade does nothing to stimulate meaningful dialogue. It’s not learning its survivorship to get the grade to keep your GPA up. Nothing but a game. All the kids do it and then laugh about it. Sadly, I don’t think it’s funny at all. It’s a scam. I think people would be surprised to see how many conservatives there are on some of these liberal campuses who are just gaming the school to get the degree. It’s all about the power as the elites like to say. Well they are the oppressors on college campuses today and are being laughed at by the conservatives who are totally manipulating them. It’s a joke. A bad joke.

  1. Keller your ”white christian privileged kid” mantra is stale and tired. What is an ”intolerance oriented curriculum”? Must we tolerate everything. Please itemize all the things people must tolerate based upon your worldview. Must we tolerate Hamas butchery? Must we tolerate pedophilia? How about cannibalism in Afrika from certain cultures? How about aborting the female gender only? Must we tolerate real estate agents buying a 24million dollar property? Do I tolerate a colander wearing pastafarian? I agree with your ”best candidate for the job regardless of ……’

  2. Yes! We must tolerate Jews, Christians (including Catholics), Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Blacks, Whites, Orientals, Indians (East and West) Europeans (east and west), Africans, Straight, Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Conservatives and and graduates of that Hamas supporting University in Boston whose graduates are for the most part are rich.

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