, Newburyport, MA

June 24, 2013

Outgoing superintendent Kerble accepts job in Newton

By Kelly Burch

---- — NEWBURYPORT — As Superintendent Marc Kerble finishes his final days with the Newburyport Public Schools, he is looking forward to two weeks off, before starting in a new role at Learning Prep in Newton.

“For the first time in my life, I will have nothing hanging over my head,” said Kerble, whose last official day is June 30. “I will be completely free to give my wife the attention that she deserves.”

Kerble, who served three years as superintendent in Newburyport, has accepted a position as the chief academic officer at Learning Prep, a school for students with language and learning challenges in Newton.

“I have a special education background, so I am going back to doing the things I love,” Kerble said. “And I will still be home for dinner. That’s what I want — balance.”

Kerble is not shy about admitting that he will be working under someone who used to work for him.

“I’m loving it,” he said. “Now I can say, ‘If you have a problem, go see the boss. I am not the boss.’”

During his time as the boss in Newburyport, Kerble did have his fair share of political drama. However, he said that running the Newburyport Public Schools was a rewarding experience.

“I hit a little bump in the road politically, but I learned from that both professionally and personally,” he said. “The people are great here, and the most important thing is the kids. We always need to remember that.”

Last Monday night, Kerble addressed the School Committee for the last time.

“I cannot say enough about the teachers, students and staff, and everyone at the central office,” he said. “Cathy Manning, my executive assistant, is the best I have ever seen. Angela Bik (superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development) pours her heart and soul into her job, and some day people will realize how great she is.”

In addition to thanking his colleagues, Kerble had some advice for them.

He suggested that the School Committee give incoming Superintendent Susan Viccaro time to adjust to her new role by giving her fewer goals to focus on at the beginning.

“They need to let her get her feet wet,” he said. “She needs to be free, without being held to 40 goals.”

He also suggested that the School Committee work to operate by the norms of interaction that the committee set for itself.

“They need to focus on our strengths and support the school department,” he said. “Share negative comments privately. Why air your dirty laundry?”

For their part, School Committee members thanked Kerble for his dedication to the school system.

“He moved the district forward,” said Cheryl Sweeney, vice chair of the School Committee.