Minuteman Tech superintendent resigns after bitter breakup with college group

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Kathleen Dawson, who was employed to steer Minuteman Tech in Lexington final yr, resigned after mother and father, college students, and school criticized her decision-making.

College students wrote in chalk throughout a scholar walk-out at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical Excessive Faculty. The scholars had been exhibiting help for Principal George Clement. LexMedia

Nearly 5 months after being positioned on paid administrative go away, the superintendent of Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical Excessive Faculty in Lexington resigned this week. 

Kathleen Dawson.

Kathleen Dawson, who was chosen for the place simply final spring, introduced her resignation efficient Sept. 30 in a launch. Her quick tenure was suffering from friction with college and oldsters, which got here to a head when Dawson selected to not lengthen the contract of Principal George Clement. On-line petitions and a scholar walk-out adopted. 

In a vitriolic e-mail despatched to the Minuteman Faculty Committee in Could, Clement accused Dawson of “making employees and college students really feel uncomfortable by rubbing their shoulders or again.” The committee retained unbiased authorized counsel to research the allegations, and located no proof that the complaints constituted sexual harassment, in line with Dawson. 

“Not one of the complainants alleged that any touchings had been sexual in nature. Dr. Dawson identifies the motivation for these accusations as a response to unpopular selections she made in the middle of her work,” Dawson’s launch states. 

In his e-mail, Clement lodged a variety of complaints concerning Dawson’s management and decision-making. This consists of asserting classroom walkthroughs on the day of the wake for a college member’s husband, attending a student-therapist session with out an invite, and calling directors on trip to demand work from them and inform them that their contracts had been null and void. Dawson additionally took an unnecessarily lengthy period of time to fill vacant positions and made main selections with out conducting her personal inquiries, Clement wrote. 

“She is going to smile and ask for grace whereas she ‘listens, observes, and learns,’ however her true preset sample, as demonstrated in her previous and preserved in her dissertation, is one among discord, demoralization, and mistrust,” Clement wrote. 

Dawson was employed final yr to switch Ed Bouquillon, the longtime chief of the vocational college. Minuteman’s college district formally consists of Acton, Arlington, Bolton, Harmony, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Needham, and Stow, however college students from cities outdoors the district can apply as properly. A brand new, $144.9 million college constructing opened in September 2019. 

Previous to working at Minuteman, Dawson was Deputy Superintendent of the Orange County Faculty District in North Carolina. She earned her masters diploma from Harvard and hung out working within the Boston Public Faculty system and at Wentworth Institute of Know-how. Dawson served as Headmaster of New Bedford Excessive Faculty however resigned midway by way of her first yr, citing private causes. 

She edged out two different candidates for the Minuteman place, and Faculty Committee members on the time praised her potential to create relationships with enterprise leaders and expertise within the profession and technical training mannequin. 

Dawson stated she was praised by the Faculty Committee all through the 2022-23 college yr on her progress on a variety of initiatives and for exceeding the expectations outlined within the district’s Superintendent Profile. 

Regardless of being cleared of any wrongdoing within the investigation, Dawson stated she was resigning “within the pursuits of transferring ahead professionally and personally, to facilitate Minuteman’s essential mission, and in gentle of the hostile response that [she] encountered pursuant to actions she took with both full college committee help, a powerful sense of fiscal duty in the direction of the Minuteman district, or in alignment with DESE expectations.”

The Minuteman group would have rejected Dawson had she determined to return again for the present college yr, a father or mother advised The Lexington Observer final month. 

“If Dr. Dawson is allowed to return again to Minuteman, there might be a revolt,” Jinna Penachio, former head of the Minuteman Mother and father Affiliation, advised the native information web site. 

Regardless of the unhealthy blood, Dawson stated she nonetheless hopes for the most effective for Minuteman. 

Dawson “is saddened she won’t be able to proceed to steer the district to ever better accomplishments. Nonetheless, she believes within the potential of Minuteman, and is assured that they are going to proceed to realize excellence for all college students,” she stated within the launch.