Filling Spaces: Belmont Announces ‘New’ Asst. Super, A First CUE Leader, Extended Elementary Principals Search

Photo: The Belmont School District is filling leadership positions

The Belmont School District has taken the “interim” from assistant superintendent Lucia Sullivan’s title as the in-house candidate was hired to fill the post recently held by Janice Darias.

Sullivan’s appointment to the full-time post was one of two selections by Superintendent Jill Geiser in filling major leadership positions in the district over the past month. Sullivan’s promotion was hardly a surprise as she and Geiser have created an effective team after the superintendent arrived in Belmont this past July.

The second announcement was the appointment of Belmont educator Laura Smith as the first permanent principal of the Chenery Upper Elementary School – dubbed by the district as the “CUE” – which will take place July 1. Until then, Smith will continue serving as the CUE’s Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, a position she has held since September.

“I’m excited to step into the role of principal at the Chenery Upper Elementary School, the first leader of the school in its grades four, five and six configuration,” said Smith to the school committee on Feb. 28.

“One message came through really strongly to me is that Belmont really cares about education. And it was affirming to me to have the support of all of those community stakeholders,” Smith said. “I believe in open communication and collaboration; so, with that in mind, please, I encourage you to share your insights and concerns openly as we work together to build this new fourth to sixth [grade] school.”

Prior to coming to Belmont, Smith worked for two years as the district’s Literacy Coach in the Cambridge Public Schools. She brings previous experience as a Cultural Proficiency Facilitator (2015-2021, Cambridge Street Upper School), an Assistant Principal (2009-2015, Kennedy Middle School), and nearly a decade as a classroom teacher of English at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

She has a BA in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Boston, a MEd degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she was honored as a James Bryant Conant Fellow, And she will soon be “Dr. Smith” as she anticipates earning a doctorate in Curricular Studies and Educational Leadership from the University of South Carolina sometime this year.

Still up in the air remains hiring principals at the Winn Brook and Burbank elementary schools in which the job postings remain open with interviews coming in the spring. Geiser told the committee the district is “still within the window” from January to the spring in which a larger candidate pool is emerging.

“There’s a lot of movement” among educators seeking new positions which places Belmont in “a good situation.”

Finally the hiring of an assistant principal at the Belmont Middle School (grades 7-8) is being led by BMS’s Principal Russ Kupperstein.