Norton hires Holbrook school chief

The School Committee voted 5-0 Thursday to hire Joseph Baeta, the superintendent in Holbrook, as Norton’s new superintendent of schools. Committee chairman Andrew Mackie said in an e-mail that Baeta had “the whole package” — a record of improving student achievement, a deep understanding of the budget process, and excellent people skills. “He’s mainly concerned with whether an idea will be effective rather than it fitting in with a specific philosophy,” he said. Baeta said he was excited at the chance to work in a district that was “in a different place” than Holbrook. Norton has higher academic scores and, despite a tight budget, is “really being progressive” on its construction needs, he said. Holbrook loses Baeta at a time when the district is in the midst of planning a high school construction project, and when the town’s Board of Selectmen is exploring regionalization with Avon. Barbara Davis, chairwoman of the Holbrook School Committee, when asked whether her system  would have trouble finding candidates willing to wade into those issues, said, “Possibly . . . but, much as when we hired Joe, there’s always somebody that’s ready to take on a challenge.” Norton narrowed a pool of four finalists to two last week, inviting Baeta and Bonny Gifford, assistant superintendent in Nauset, to return for another interview and visit with staff.