These are the 2 finalists for Superintendent of Boston Schools


Both candidates have work experience in Boston Public Schools.

Mary Skipper and Tommy Welch, the two finalists for Boston Public Schools Superintendent.

After a three-month search process, two finalists for Boston Public Schools superintendent, each with extensive administrative experience in the district, were unveiled by the school committee on Tuesday, ahead of public interviews for each nominee scheduled for later this week.

Mary Skipper, the current Superintendent of Somerville Public Schools, and Tommy Welch, Superintendent of Region 1 Schools for the BPS, were recommended by a nine-member search committee, the school committee announced in a news release. .

“Boston’s future is intertwined with the success of our public schools and the health and well-being of our young people,” Mayor Michelle Wu said in a statement. “I am delighted to be at this final stage of our search process and very grateful to the search committee for leading a robust process that produced a strong and diverse pool of candidates with a wide range of lived and professional experiences. .”

Wu and school committee chair Jeri Robinson also called on the school committee on Tuesday to formally designate Drew Echelson, the district’s assistant superintendent of academics, as acting superintendent to cover duties during the “short window” between when current superintendent Brenda Cassellius steps down on June 30 and the next superintendent’s first day on the job, officials said.

Echelson was not a candidate for superintendent.

The finalists

Skipper, a former Network Superintendent at BPS, served as Head of Somerville Schools for seven years, where she “quickly made her mark in Somerville as an innovative and visionary thinker, a passionate advocate for all young people and a a strategic systems builder whose approach includes mobilizing community resources to support students,” boasts the school board statement.

“Prior to Somerville, Superintendent Skipper served as the High School System Superintendent for BPS, where she oversaw 34 high schools serving approximately 19,500 students,” officials said. “During her tenure as network superintendent, Boston high schools achieved the lowest dropout rates and highest graduation rates in BPS history.”

In 2002, Skipper helped launch TechBoston Academy as founding director.

Skipper lives in Dorchester with her husband and three children. She holds a BA in English and Latin from Tufts University; a master’s degree in educational policy from Harvard University; and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Columbia Teachers College.

Welch, in his current role, works with 15 schools — with more than 7,000 students — in Charleston, East Boston and North End.

“Dr. Welch’s service in urban education spans more than two decades,” the officials said. “His work prioritizes improving student academic outcomes and connects leaders and resources to the within the network to provide a consistent pedagogical vision for all schools.”

Before starting at Boston Schools in 2015, Welch was the founding principal of a middle school and later a high school in the South Central neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“His classroom teaching experience has focused on English language learners and special education inclusion in the early primary grades, as well as English at the secondary level,” officials said.

Welch lives in East Boston with his wife and two children, who are students at BPS. He is a graduate of Occidental College and the University of California, Los Angeles, and earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Boston College in 2020.

Dr. Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College and co-chair of the superintendent’s search committee, called the two nominees “outstanding and strong leaders committed to equity and academic excellence.”

Skipper and Welch were selected from a total of 34 applicants after a series of public listening sessions and community meetings as well as private interviews with the search committee.

The search committee held its final deliberations last week and voted to advance a group of finalists, though two candidates have since withdrawn before public interviews, according to district officials.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the Superintendent’s Search Committee for their extensive work in evaluating applicants through a collaborative process, which included community voices from day one,” Robinson said in a statement. “The next district leader must be prepared to meet the challenges facing the district and share our commitment to equity and inclusion, increasing academic achievement and engaging deeply with all members from the community.”


Skipper and Welch will participate in public interviews on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

“These panel interviews will be conducted remotely via Zoom, with live interpretation in nine languages, including ASL, and members of the public are welcome to join,” officials said. “Panel questions will remain the same on both days and will be drawn from both panelists and previous public responses to the Superintendent’s research inquiry. Questions can also be chosen live from Zoom’s Q&A feature.

Panel times for both days include:

  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Community Partners
  • 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: Educators and school leaders
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Students and families

Each day will end with a public interview in front of the School Committee from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The committee will meet June 29 at 5 p.m. to vote on who to offer the job to and to approve Echelson as acting superintendent, officials said.

Here are the links to the live streams of the panels and interviews.


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