When State Sen. Will Brownsberger read the proclamation for the Massachusetts Senate honoring Dr. Thomas Kingston, Belmont School District’s longest serving caretaker superintendent, it declared Kingston being “the semi-permenant, interim superintendent” of the school system he ran for the past three years.
“It says that,” said Kingston, before members of the Belmont School Committee, town officials, educators and residents who came to the Belmont Gallery of Art on Monday, June 16 to thank the educator for his service to the town’s schools.
“It’s been a great three years in Belmont although I didn’t expecting three years in Belmont,” said Kingston, who received a proclamation from the House of Representatives from State Rep. Dave Rogers.
Kingston, who spent seven years as Chelsea’s Superintendent of Schools, was hired in June 2011 for a single year as interim superintendent who file the gap left with the departure of his predesessor George Entwistle.
Yet due to the lack of qualified candidates, his leadership skills and willingness to remain in the position, Kingston’s tenure stretched from one to three years, a time in which observers praised Kingston for his steady hand overseeing the district’s educators and steadying influence during three budget cycles.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to work in this kind of community with this kind of dedication to education which in many ways was a complement to what I was doing in Chelsea,” said Kingston.
“One of the most meaningful things for all of us has not just been the counsel you gave to us but also that you sought the advice of school committee members, the leadership council and people in town about what this community is and that’s a very profound experience,” said Laurie Graham, school committee member who thanked Kingston’s wife, Sue, “for letting us have Tom for the past three years.”
After his extended stay in neighboring Belmont – Kingston is an Arlington resident – he will be working part-time with new superintendents, an experience he likens to being a “utility infielder.”
The celebration included parting gifts – a “Belmont Rocks” T-shirt, an altered magnet that now says “‘Exiting’ Belmont”, and a daily calendar of literary phrases – in addition to a cake that Kingston supervised its distribution.