Amherst school chief to stay put

Staff Writer
Friday, April 14, 2017

AMHERST — Michael Morris, interim superintendent for the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District since September, will remain in the position for another year.

With the search for a permanent superintendent put off to the fall by the Amherst-Pelham and Union 26 school committees last month, the committees Tuesday unanimously agreed to keep Morris in the interim post.

The vote is contingent on successful contract negotiations between Morris and the committees.

Morris, a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent during his 16-year tenure with Amherst’s public schools, said in a statement that he looks forward to continuing his interim role for another year.

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve as interim superintendent and to work collaboratively with the school committees and the outstanding faculty and staff of our districts on behalf of our students,” Morris said.

Morris stepped in after former superintendent Maria Geryk left the district in August.

Regional Committee Chairman Eric Nakajima praised Morris for his steady leadership.

“He is a gifted educational leader and we are looking forward to a full academic year in which he can work with us, the staff and community to advance our mission of educational excellence for all students,” Nakajima said.

Anastasia Ordonez, chairwoman of the Union 26 committee, called Morris a leader dedicated to the excellence of all students.

“Teachers, parents, staff and community leaders have repeatedly expressed their enthusiastic support for Dr. Morris’s work so far, and I’m pleased that the committees voted to have him continue as interim superintendent for the next academic year,” Ordonez said.

The superintendent search, which had aimed to have someone in place by July 1, was called off after the school’s human resourcrs director identified a violation of state law in the application process that included inappropriate questions about candidates’ criminal backgrounds.