Finalists Chosen for Lynn Superintendent of Schools Position

Special to the Journal

The Superintendent Search Screening Committee has chosen three finalists for the superintendent of schools position and will recommend them to the School Committee at its meeting Thursday night.

The finalists are: Dr. Evonne Alvarez, chief academic officer of Providence (R.I.) Public Schools; Molly Cohen, interim deputy superintendent of Lynn Public Schools (LPS); and Kevin McCaskill, assistant superintendent of Boston Public Schools (BPS).

The next steps are for the School Committee to vote to accept the finalists and schedule site visits and public interviews. The original timeline called for a superintendent to be named in December and that is on schedule.

“I’m thrilled with the finalists and the way the search process has been conducted,” said Mayor Jared C. Nicholson, chair of the School Committee who served in the same capacity on the search committee, which has worked in conjunction with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. “I’m grateful for the hard work and thoroughness of the committee members.”

Alvarez worked in the Miami-Dade school district in Florida for 27 years as a teacher, principal, district director and administrative director. She came to Providence earlier this year as redesign and innovation officer before being named chief academic officer.

Alvarez earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Maryland, a master’s from Nova Southeastern University in Florida and a doctorate from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She lives in Revere.

Cohen started her teaching career in Chile 25 years ago. When she returned to the U.S., she worked a sheltered English immersion teacher at Salem High and Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (LVTI). She then served as a bilingual guidance counselor at Lynn English High School, assistant principal at Breed Middle School, and principal of Thurgood Marshall Middle School from 2015-22. She was named interim deputy superintendent in August.

Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and master’s degrees from Simmons University and Salem State University. She lives in Marblehead.

McCaskill worked in Springfield Public Schools for 22 years as a teacher and administrator, including six years as principal of Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical Academy. After serving as director of secondary schools and operations for Hartford Public Schools from 2010-15, McCaskill moved to BPS as executive director of Madison Park Vocational High School. In 2021, he was named chief academic officer for high schools, a position recognized as assistant superintendent.

McCaskill earned a bachelor’s degree from Western New England University in Springfield, a master’s from Westfield State University and an education specialist certificate from UMass Amherst. He lives in Boston.

There were 16 applicants for the superintendent position, nine of whom were selected for a 75-minute interview, with three advancing as finalists.

Debra Ruggiero has been serving as interim superintendent since August, after the resignation of Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. She was not an applicant for the permanent position.

In addition to Nicholson, search committee members include: LPS parent Amy Butterworth; School Committee member Donna Coppola; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Faustina Cuevas; Lynn English High School teacher Lisa Escalera; Washington Elementary School Principal Anthony Frye; LVTI Principal Fred Gallo; North Shore Community College President Dr. William Heineman; LPS parent Quendia Martinez; LPS parent Tanisha Soo Miller; Lynn Teachers Union President Sheila O’Neil; School Committee member Lennin Pena; and Shoemaker Elementary School teacher Julie Potter.

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