|Basan "Buzz" Nembirkow|
I know I am going out on a limb; I also know that others will say that some previous superintendents in Southbridge have received glowing recommendations only to be found wanting. Despite that, I believe the Southbridge School Committee made a very good choice in selecting Basan "Buzz" Nembirkow as the new Acting Superintendent of Southbridge Public Schools.
I sat in on the interview for Mr. Nembirkow, and I believe no one could fail to realize that he is a highly competent and knowledgeable individual. He has a record as a strong educational leader, and has accomplished much in the field of education.
Southbridge desperately needs someone of Mr. Nembirkow's caliber to provide a fresh look at our school system, one that clearly is in disarray and mired in politics. Mr. Nembirkow's reputation as a plain talker, coupled with his allegiance to no one in the school system except the students of Southbridge, means that he will not be subjugated by those who believe it is their job to rule, and perhaps overrule, the Superintendent of Schools.
I have no doubt that Mr. Nembirkow will immediately take stock of the current Administration in our Southbridge schools. He will determine whether or not people are doing the job they were hired to do, and he will provide guidance to those who are not. That guidance, after a time, may well include suggesting another line of employment.
Mr. Nembirkow has stated that he holds the principals responsible for creating a school climate in which the sole purpose is the education of the students under their charge. He believes in giving them the tools needed to do the job, including the necessary support. Teachers are under the supervision of these principals, and as such, principals are responsible for assuring that teachers are given the tools for success. With that, if the teachers demonstrate an unwillingness or incompetence to do the job, the principal is expected to take appropriate action. They evaluate the teachers. The Superintendent evaluates the principals.
Because one of Mr. Nembirkow's places of employment was the Chicopee Public School District, a whispering campaign from some within the system and outside the system has already begun. Mr. Nembirkow has plainly stated that he does not know Tammy Perreault, the Southbridge Middle/High School Principal who is currently on administrative leave. Ms. Perreault once taught in Chicopee. I believe those who may be trying to derail Mr. Nembirkow before he even begins will be sorely disappointed. He does not strike me as the kind of guy who will tolerate such nonsense. Southbridge is very much in need of someone like that.
It needs to be remembered that Mr. Nembirkow is Acting Superintendent for a time uncertain. Until such time as the situation regarding Eric Ely is resolved, Mr. Ely is still the Superintendent of Southbridge Schools. One hopes that a resolution is arrived at shortly.
If Mr. Ely is removed as the Superintendent of the Southbridge Schools in the near future, Southbridge will be looking for an Interim Superintendent. Perhaps Mr. Nembirkow will fit that bill also. Time will tell.
In the meantime, I hope the community will welcome Basan "Buzz" Nembirkow as the new, albeit temporary, leader of the Southbridge Schools. We need him, and it appears to be a good match.