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The New Superintendent is….


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Editor’s note: The first four paragraphs of this story were eliminated without my knowledge over the weekend. I’ve restored them today, March 21, 7 p.m. — ––Joyce Pellino Crane

Having attracted almost 30 applicants, nine semi-finalists, and four finalists — Westford has a new superintendent of schools. Christopher Chew, the holder of a doctoral degree accepted the job offered by School Committee Chair Gloria Miller, on March 18th.

His name is familiar, especially to a large group of past and present middle schoolers in town. The principal of Stony Brook School, will now take charge of nine public schools, at least one administrative building, almost 5,000 students, and a series of bus routes that stretch across the town’s 31 square miles.

‘Why Westford?” Chew said when questioned by  School Committee member Avery Adam.

“Because I love the work we’re doing out here. I love Westford.”

According to his resume, Chew earned a doctoral of education degree from Northeastern University, College of Professional studies, in April 2013. He earned his degree in English from Fitchburg State University in May 1999, and his bachelor of fine arts in drama, from Carnegie Mellon University in May 1994.

Over the last two weeks, there were 23 site visits to the finalists’ districts and 32 meetings and interviews with our stakeholders, including staff, parents, our town partners, and students.

In addition to a career in education, Chew is involved in theatre arts. He has performed throughout the region from the Huntington Theater in Boston to the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly. From 2004 to 2008, he was the artistic director of the Village Theatre Project in the town of Harvard. From 2002 to 2004, he developed a multi-level youth theater program in Stoneham.

The Competitors

Chew faced three tough challengers, all holders of doctoral degrees. They were, Margaret Adams, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at  Melrose Public Schools, Matthew I. Janger, Arlington High School Principal, and Michele E. Shannon, executive vice president of client services, New York CityLeadership Academy.

A Departing Leader

Everett V. Olsen Jr., Westford’s retiring superintendent, who hired Chew posted the following on his Facebook page: “My Congratulations to Stony Brook Principal Dr. Chris Chew for being selected as the next Superintendent of Westford Public Schools, beginning July 1st! I’ve enjoyed working with Chris and he will be an excellent Superintendent!”

Praise for Chew

When reached for comment, Miller praised the principal. “Dr. Chew is a dynamic leader with superb communication and interpersonal skills,” she said, “and an inspirational vision for the future of Westford schools. The committee recognized his proven commitment to social emotional learning, with a focus on student and staff mental health and well-being…The School Committee is confident that the future of Westford Schools will be in good hands under Dr. Chew’s guidance and leadership.”