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Weymouth assistant gets Hanover schools job

Matthew Ferron, an assistant school superintendent in Weymouth, will take the top job leading Hanover Public Schools and may start as early as July 1.

In a 3-2 vote on April 1, Hanover School Committee members decided to offer the superintendent’s position to Ferron, a former director of education and member relations for the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System.

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“I look forward to getting involved in the Hanover community,” Ferron said in an interview. He is now negotiating contract details and said a July 1 start date is likely.

Ferron said he intends to prepare Hanover’s students for success by providing them opportunities to improve their skills in mathematics, science, and technology.

He said his five years as assistant superintendent in Weymouth and one year as interim superintendent have provided him with a wealth of applicable experience, including the ability to build relationships between the community and schools; create a unified leadership team; nurture a strong school culture; and successfully fight for scarce government funding.

In Weymouth, Ferron helped manage a school district with nearly 7,000 students, eight primary schools, two middle schools, a high school, and an early childhood education center. The schools have faced budget cuts that forced staff reductions through attrition or layoffs at most grade levels. In the fall of 2010, administrators reassigned the middle school students in grades 7 and 8 to attend Chapman Middle School and pupils in grades 5 and 6 to Abigail Adams Middle School to reduce budget costs.

“Hanover is going to offer many challenges but also incredible opportunities. I am excited,” Ferron said.

A Weymouth resident with a wife and two school-age children, he said he currently earns $117,000, and his salary in Hanover is being negotiated. He has an undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s in public administration from Suffolk University.

Weymouth Superintendent Kenneth Salim said Ferron has been a valuable leader in his school district.

“Matt knows how school systems work; he knows the complexities and challenges involved,” Salim said. “He knows how to build community. He is a strong collaborator [and] brings a lot to the table.”

William Marriner, vice chairman of the Hanover School Committee, said he hopes Ferron will prove a strong choice.

Marriner said he voted against offering the job to Ferron because of concerns about his experience level. He favored the other finalist for the job, Milton Assistant Superintendent John Phelan.

“I felt the other candidate had much more practical experience to be applied,” he said. “Like anything else, it is hard to evaluate or manage when you don’t have as much experience. Now that we have voted, I am moving forward.”

Fellow committee member Kevin McLeod, a Ferron supporter, said teachers on the search panel wanted Ferron.

“I thought both candidates were excellent,” he said. “I thought both interviewed well and both were very much what Hanover was looking for. I think it came down to what the teachers on the search committee wanted for their leadership, and in the end, that was Matt Ferron.”

Carl Batchelder, who retired in 2009 from the Woburn Public Schools after 15 years as superintendent, has been interim superintendent for the Hanover Public Schools since Oct. 29, 2012, following the retirement of previous Hanover superintendent Kristine Nash.

Meg Murphy can be reached at msmegmurphy@gmail.com.

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