Meet the Superintendent Candidate: Andrew Berrios


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UPDATE: Dr. Allison LeClair has been chosen as our next superintendent. A longer interview with her is forthcoming.

NOTE: Andrew Berrios was interviewed by the School Committee on April 4th, 2018, at Easthampton High School.

Allison LeClair, our other finalist, was interviewed on April 3rd. Both interviews will be made public by Easthampton Media.

The quotes in this article come from an interview conducted during a public meet-and-greet with Andrew Berrios at Easthampton High School. A similar article about the other finalist, Allison LeClair, is also available on the website. For more information about either candidate, you can watch their School Committee interviews once they have occurred at http://easthamptonmedia.org/.

 

Andrew Berrios is currently the principal of Smith Academy in Hatfield. He has been in that position since 2012, and was previously the vice principal at Chicopee Fairview Veterans Memorial Middle School.

 

Berrios thought that the 10-point plan created to deal with climate issues within Easthampton High School was a useful tool, but did not include everything necessary to solve the problems. “I think the 10-point plan is pretty clear-cut and provides some guidance,” he said. “I think what it doesn’t provide is what is actually happening at the school as far as culture and climate.” If Berrios were selected as our superintendent, he would get information on the specifics of climate within the schools by going in and talking directly to students about what they think. Although he recognizes that these climate issues are still in the process of being solved, he thought that a powerful force had emerged from students throughout that process: “I think that once of the biggest things that came out of last year was student voice. Not that students didn’t have a voice before, but I feel like they’re more empowered, and that the administration, the educators, the community, all need to consider that and build upon it.”

 

Berrios was excited about the the opportunities for innovation that would be created by the proposed new K-8 school. “Figuring out the kinds of classrooms we want, the infrastructure stuff, to me is really exciting.” He thought that in the process of designing the new school, it would be important to look ahead: “Kind of being visionary with what the needs are.” Thinking about less academic-focused priorities, such as the social-emotional wellbeing of students, was important to him, as well as considering Easthampton’s future growth as a district. Creating efficiency in a larger school, he thought, might be a challenge: “We’re taking a lot of different kids from a lot of different schools, and we’re putting them in one building.”

 

When asked about issues of bullying, Berrios said that he thought educating students was important: “Not so much tolerance, but teaching acceptance… it’s really just educating against ignorance.” Education, he said, has recently been evolving into having more of a focus on the social-emotional aspect of student growth. “We’re actually teaching kids ‘not everybody’s going to believe what you believe, this is how you treat people.’”

 

 

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