In the News

School Committee Appoints Interim Superintendent

|   City News

The School Committee today voted unanimously to appoint Chief Instructional Officer Dr. Michelle Balch to serve as Interim Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools. She will serve in this role until Superintendent-Elect Dr. Sonia Dinnall officially assumes the position.

The decision was based on conversations with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and follows precedent, said School Committee member Denise Hurst, who proposed the motion. Hurst explained that in the absence of an assistant superintendent to fill the interim role, the practice has been to appoint the Chief Instructional Officer. The approach has been used in Springfield Public Schools at least twice in recent history, she said.

School Committee Chairman Mayor Domenic Sarno emphasized the importance of a smooth transition in district leadership for the benefit of students and families. “The train is going to continue to run, and we move forward,” he said.

School Committee Vice-Chairman Joesiah Gonzalez described Balch's appointment as a step toward “stabilization and unity” for the district. He acknowledged concerns about leadership during this transition and stated that the appointment reflects the district's commitment to “fostering a culture of equity and justice.”

Balch was appointed Chief Instructional Officer in December 2023, having served as acting Chief Instructional Officer since April 2023. She began her career with Springfield Public Schools as a special education history teacher in 2005. She has occupied several significant roles, including Special Education Department Chairperson, Assistant Principal, Administrator of Educator Effectiveness, Director of Development and Wellness, and Senior Administrator of Performance and Evaluation. Last year, she was appointed the lead role in the implementation of the district’s Portrait of a Graduate, focusing on student-centered, rigorous, and real-world instruction. Balch holds a Doctor of Education in Leadership Schooling, a master’s degree in education-moderate disabilities from Cambridge College, and a bachelor's degree from Westfield State University.

Upon her appointment, Balch thanked the School Committee and said she was honored and humbled to serve in the role. “I look forward to ensuring that we have the most successful transition to Superintendent Dr. Dinnall,” she said.

The School Committee is scheduled to begin contract negotiations with Dinnall on Tuesday, June 11th.

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm