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Fall River superintendent to resign in November, months after investigation found he harassed staff

Matthew Malone, pictured here in Brockton in 2009.
Matthew Malone, pictured here in Brockton in 2009.Jonathan Wiggs

Fall River Superintendent of Schools Matthew H. Malone, who served as Massachusetts’ education secretary under former governor Deval Patrick, will resign in November after coming under fire earlier this year surrounding claims he harassed staff members in the district.

An investigation found that Malone, who has been superintendent since 2016, used the word “retard” to describe an employee who has a disability and spoke inappropriately toward female workers, the Fall River Herald News reported.

In a letter sent Monday to the city’s School Committee, Malone said he “made the personal and professional decision that it would be best for the district, as a whole, that I pass the baton of leadership.” His resignation will be effective on Nov. 1, though at least one School Committee member told the Herald News he’d like Malone to leave the post before November.


“This coordinated exit timeline will allow us to complete the current important work I was hired to accomplish and allow the School Committee with the professionally appropriate notice for succession and transition planning,” Malone wrote.

Malone was disciplined by the School Committee in January for his alleged harassment of employees, and in an interview with the Herald News at the time, he apologized for his “lack of professional judgment and lack of professional decorum.”

“In August 2020, I broke the tenets of our core values by behaving in a manner that disrupted the team work of our central office and hurt the feelings of our professional community,” he told the newspaper.

In February, the City Council took a vote of no confidence in Malone, an action the superintendent said was “a distraction from the important work we are doing to lead through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In a statement following the vote, he wrote — in bolded font — that he would not resign. He said he deserved the discipline that he received.


Malone did not reference the harassment claims in his Monday resignation announcement. He said he will “continue to work as hard as I have since my first day up until my last day.”

“My commitment to the City of Fall River and the students whom we serve is and always will be, indomitable,” he wrote. “I have enjoyed Fall River immensely and will forever treasure the people I was able to work with and the students whom I was able to serve.”

Prior to serving as Massachusetts education secretary from 2013 to 2015, Malone led other school districts, spending several years as superintendent for Swampscott Public Schools and then working in the same role in Brockton.

Read Malone’s resignation letter:

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.