WEST NEWBURY — The Pentucket Regional School Committee has reached an agreement with Jeffrey Mulqueen that positions him to take over the helm of the district this summer.
Mulqueen signed a three-year contract last Wednesday effective July 1 at a starting salary of $156,000. He will assume the role held by retiring Superintendent Paul Livingston. Hired in 2006, Livingston's current salary is $170,500.
Pentucket Chairwoman Chris Reading reported that after signing his contract, Mulqueen spent the day meeting with district personnel. "He's coming up next week for another day of meetings — he's jumping right in," she said.
This marks the first superintendent's job for Mulqueen, who most recently served for two years as chief academic officer for the Worcester Public Schools.
During the school board's most recent meeting last Tuesday, Reading noted that there was very little negotiation by Mulqueen over the contract the school board presented. Among the provisions in the agreement, the new superintendent is entitled to an annual pay raise contingent on a positive performance evaluation and is afforded the same medical, dental, life and hospital insurance benefits other professional personnel in the district receive.
He gets 20 vacation days, five of which may be carried over from one contract year to the next, and 15 days of sick leave, with a maximum accumulation of 125 days. "There shall be no sick leave buyback," the contract states. He is also allotted four personal days and five consecutive days for bereavement.
Up to $2,500 per year may be allocated for on-the-job expenses. Any professional development or other charges beyond this amount must be pre-approved by a majority of the committee. The contract allows him five days of consulting work, provided the work is held during his vacation time and the committee is properly notified.
An evaluation and job performance review shall be publicly discussed prior to June 30 each year. As part of the evaluation process, the School Committee chairman will create a written majority report and board members' written statements will be "considered public record and discussed in a public forum." Any response from the superintendent will be attached to the majority report.
The committee agrees to indemnify Mulqueen "when he is acting within the scope of his official duties" but only as long as he "provides reasonable cooperation to the district and their legal counsel" in defending claims or litigation lodged against him.
Mulqueen must give the committee 120 days notice of his intention to terminate the contract and the board must provide him 30 days notice if it plans to hold a hearing to determine his termination. Reasons listed for terminating the contract are "inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming a superintendent, insubordination, or other good cause." A majority vote of the entire committee is needed to enact termination before the term of service has expired. The superintendent may appeal to an arbitrator any vote to discharge him for good cause.
"By mutual consent" the contract may be opened for renegotiations during its term. Any amendments must be made in writing and attached to the agreement.
According to his resume, Mulqueen received a bachelor's degree in biology from St. Anselm College in 1979; an M.Ed in school supervision and administration from Notre Dame College in 1988; an MS in total quality from Anna Maria College in 1996; an EdD in educational leadership from NOVA Southwestern University in 1999; and attended the University of Connecticut's Executive School Leadership program in 2008.
He began his career as an adult education teacher in 1981 and taught high school science for seven years in Manchester, N.H. He's held three assistant principal positions, served twice as a principal and twice as an assistant superintendent, both times in Connecticut.