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Superintendent Commits to Openness and Teamwork

Superintendent Lynne Celli said the road has been difficult in her first year but she has her eyes on improving education in the district.

The superintendent made overtures to the public, the School Committee and media on Wednesday night.

Superintendentsaid the administration has faced major difficulties in her first year, and she expressed a desire to focus more on improving education.

Celli sounded recurrent themes — teamwork, transparency and balance — throughout the night while she was talking about the proposed 2012 budget and the district's action plan for improving education.

She said the proposed budget does not sacrifice striving for academic achievement but it prioritizes and strikes a balance between spending and limited resources.

"It's the first budget of a new day," she said, acknowledging that one of her staff had coined the phrase.

The district invested in professional development but not in a curriculum specialist, she said.

The district realigned some teaching responsibilities for the sake of efficiency.

The superintendent also said she will be more visible, spend more time in the schools, but has been beset by unforeseen circumstances.

Some of these included the unexpected resignation of the high school principal after she became superintendent.

Another challenge was the barrage of student drug and alcohol problems at the high school at the start of the school year.

The administration put together a task force to recommend changes to the school's drug and alcohol policies.

Later, a storm erupted over those changes and how they were decided upon.

School Committee Chairwoman J said Wednesday was the superintendent's first chance to give an update on her work to realize the district's ambitious academic plans.

Kinney heard Celli make overtures to the public and the School Committee, saying that pressures placed on the administration have made it more of a challenge to the normal work of running  the schools.

Kinney said she believes the superintendent is committed to an open and team oriented approach to improving education.

Kinney said the superintendent held out an olive branch to the media, as well, saying she is committed to communicating with the media.

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