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James P. Antonelli, chairman of the town’s Naming Committee, dropped a bombshell at the Sept. 24 School Committee meeting when he announced the name of the Stony Brook School would be changed to the Everett V. Olsen Jr. Middle School.
The switch is dependent on annual Town Meeting approval in March. The School Committee will vote on whether to approve the recommendation at its next meeting.
Olsen is the School Department’s long-term superintendent who arrived in town some 32 years ago as the finance director. He assumed the position of assistant superintendent of finance and administration in 2002. Olsen was promoted to superintendent in 2006.
Prior to coming to Westford, he was employed by the Lowell School Department for 16 years. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in economics at area universities for more than 30 years.
Olsen holds a master’s of business administration from Babson College and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the former Lowell Technological Institute, now name UMass-Lowell.
Antonelli is principal of Westford Academy, the town’s public high school.
Social media blew up with comments in support of the change to Olsen’s name.
“You have been a champion for all of Westford’s families. You have made countless difficult choices, considered all angles, provided thoughtful input at never-ending meetings, and sacrificed so much of your time and energy, all to put our kids first. Your tremendous service has been executed gracefully and respectfully, and is much appreciated in our great community,” wrote one Facebook poster.
Olsen appeared to be moved by Antonelli’s announcement at the School Committee meeting.
“I couldn’t ask for a higher honor…” he said.
UPDATE – The article was modified to say the School Committee will vote on whether to approve the recommendation at its next meeting. Information on Olsen’s background was also added.