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Newton School Committee picks former Brockton superintendent as interim leader

Then-Brockton Superintendent Kathleen Smith, center, in 2019. Smith was hired as Newton's interim superintendent on Tuesday night by the School Committee.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Newton’s School Committee has unanimously approved Kathleen Smith, a longtime Brockton educator and former superintendent, to lead the city’s school system as its interim leader for the coming academic year.

Smith served for more than 40 years in Brockton, including six as the head of that city’s schools before retiring in 2019. Since then, she has served as an interim superintendent in Salem and Weymouth, and is currently the temporary leader of the public schools in Dover-Sherborn.

During the School Committee’s meeting June 21, members voted 9 to 0 in favor of Smith.

She will succeed Newton Superintendent David Fleishman, who is leaving to head Jewish Vocational Service in Boston.

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Last week, the Newton School Committee’s Interim Search Team recommended Smith for the interim position after interviewing more than 10 candidates for the job.

The search team included School Committee chairwoman Tamika Olszewski, plus members Cove Davis and Anping Shen, as well as Martine Albama, the Newton schools’ director of human resources and staffing.

“Our confidence and agreement are unanimous that Kathleen Smith is the best candidate to put forward to the School Committee for recommendation,” the search team said in a June 16 memo to the full board.

During a public School Committee interview June 13, Smith said she would closely monitor the district’s budget as superintendent, but would also keep a close eye on the well-being of educators and other staff.

“One thing you hear from educators all over is, ‘We’re exhausted,’ " Smith told the School Committee. “It’s been a long process. I think we need to be paying attention to supporting our teachers, our educators, all of our support staff.”


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.