Dear Ash-West Parents, Guardians, and Community Members:
With my first year as your Superintendent of Schools concluded, I wish to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the communities of Ashburnham and Westminster for their unwavering support of public education and for the students and staff of this school district. It is with great pride and humility that I accepted the offer to assume the position of Superintendent of Schools of this wonderful school district on January 28, 2015. To be provided the opportunity to serve as Superintendent of Schools is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to our association in the coming months and years.
As we embark on yet another new school year, I would like to let you know that during my first year there were many challenges, as well as accomplishments. I will continue to work for the best interests of our students, your children, to ensure that our policies are followed appropriately, curriculum management and implementation are current and challenging, co-curricular offerings are protected, solid fiscal management is the first rule of the day, and outstanding learning and working conditions exist for our students and staff so that we can provide a world-class education to all who attend our schools.
As I have reported to the public in the spring of 2016, my entry plan findings indicated that while we are an outstanding school district, our financial limitations and restrictions dictate what we are doing and what we will tackle in the years ahead. As many of you know, I have begun a districtwide initiative to develop our next strategic plan, Ash-West 2021: A Continuous, Strategic Learning Plan. Looking forward, I will concentrate all efforts on creating a transparent and challenging roadmap to lead us to greatness. This plan will pave the way to improve and guide our efforts around three (3) specific strands, that our Administrative Cabinet has identified this summer, as priorities to increase student achievement and compete in a global economy after graduation. Please watch for announcements in the coming months of this exciting programming.
Lastly, there are many exciting infrastructure improvements happening at Overlook Middle School and Oakmont Regional High School. Through a performance contracting legislative statute, our district has funded $4.1 million in improvements to each school’s “building envelope” to upgrade and make energy efficient all heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, windows, doors, and new roofing, all at no cost to the taxpayer, thus using the cost savings in energy and lighting through building automation and new oil and pellet boilers to pay the loan. This has been an exciting project to be a part of during my first year as Superintendent, and I look forward to unveiling the outcomes of the project in the early winter months when it completes. This will certainly improve the air and lighting quality of each school setting, thus improving the learning and working conditions for students and staff alike.
As we enter into the upcoming school year together, please remember that a district’s schools are a wonderful testament to the commitment that a community makes on behalf of its young people. I know that I can count on you to work with the school committee and myself to continue that testament in the coming school year.
We look forward to the new school year with great anticipation and excitement, and I extend best wishes to all for a wonderful school year full of challenge, opportunity, and growth!
Gary F. Mazzola, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools