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Updated: Superintendent Landers Leaving Wakefield, Pending Negotiations

Wakefield's Superintendent, Joan Landers, was selected by the North Middlesex Regional School District as their new superintendent.

Superintendent Joan Landers has been named the new superintendent of the North Middlesex Regional School District, according to the School Committee's Executive Secretary Nancy Landry.

Landers released a statement on Thursday afternoon that she has been selected to serve as the North Middlesex Regional School District Superintendent, pending negotiations.

"I will keep you informed as to when a final decision has been reached in this process," she said.

"I am very honored to have served as Wakefield Public Schools' Superintendent since January 2008, working closely with the School Committee, staff, town officials and the community," she wrote in her statement. "Despite having served during challenging financial times, I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities afforded me. Through the tireless commitment of the School Committee and staff, we were able to overcome these challenges and deliver a quality education to our students. I applaud them for their efforts. As the school year comes to a close, I hope to have the opportunity to see many of you at events honoring our talented students and their accomplishments."

Landers on April 2nd, then narrowed down to one of three finalists last week, and was announced as the chosen candidate on Thursday evening, over Barbara Malkas, Deputy Superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools.

Landers would begin her new position in the North Middlesex Regional School District, which includes the towns of Townsend, Pepperell and Ashby, as soon as July 1st of 2012, although the start date may be later.

Landers has held the superintendent position in Wakefield since December of 2007. Prior to that, she served as interim superintendent since July of 2007, and had held other educational positions within the Wakefield Public School System since 2002, including Director of Special Education.

In 2011, Landers signed a 4-year contract with the Wakefield School Department, extending her contract with Wakefield until 2015. However, she was not bound to stay in Wakefield for four years, and could leave at any time provided she gave 60 days notice. 

Next Steps
School Committee Chairman Lisa Butler said that the School Committee would be forming a Superintendent Search Committee.

"At this time of year, chances are we’re not going to find a candidate before July 1st, so what would probably happens is, we’d assign an interim probably for a year and take a year to find the right person," she said. 

Butler said there are several options for finding a new superintendent for the district, including a self-appointed search committee or going through the Massachusetts Association of School Committees for help and best practices.

[Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect the release of a statement from Superintendent Joan Landers on Thursday, April 26 at 1:30 p.m.]

John Bengtson April 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Not a happy day for Wakefield. Joan's departure is a great loss for the town, but I wish her well in her new position. The new school committee will have its work cut out finding a replacement of the same caliber.
Daniel Lieber April 20, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Joan is a wonderful leader and will be able to help the children in the NMRSD in positive ways as she has done in Wakefield. Her imprint on Wakefield and her ability to improve education during extraordinary difficult fiscal times has been remarkable. She has a professionalism and passion for education that is admirable and helpful towards building consensus when appropriate. She will be missed.
Neg Ative April 26, 2012 at 05:43 PM
A Professional lives up to the commitment she made when she signed the contract
Sara Jacobi April 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM
"Neg Ative" - please use your real name, or your comment may be deleted. As it states in the article, Landers was free to leave at any time, provided she gave 60 days notice.

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