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Superintendent John Macero 

A CONVERSATION WITH SUPERINTENDENT MACERO

ON THE MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL BUILDING AUTHORITY (MSBA)

ABOUT SUPERINTENDENT MACERO

Superintendent John Macero began his career in education by serving on the Saugus School Committee in 1987. He then taught English, drama, and music at various schools before becoming the Director of Fine Arts at Saugus Public Schools in 2002. After, he served as the principal for two different elementary schools. In 2011, he was appointed Superintendent of Winthrop Public Schools and in 2017, he became Stoneham's Superintendent where he will work until his retirement at the end of August. 

"The collaboration [with the community and MBSA] was one of mutual respect. I believe MSBA is a great partner."

What was your path to becoming Superintendent of Winthrop Public School District, then Superintendent for Stoneham Schools?


My path to Superintendent was a little different than the usual way. I graduated from Boston University with a BFA in Theatre Performance. After spending some time in the mid 80’s in NYC, I decided to return to Boston. Since then, I have worked as a teacher, principal, and director of Fine Arts until, in 2011, I was appointed School Superintendent of Winthrop Public Schools. In 2017, I switched to Stoneham Public Schools. 

What motivated me to become an educational leader is simple: my love for the arts! Too many times our education budgets would be underfunded and arts would always be the first to be cut. I felt strongly that this needed to change. I believed, as principal then as superintendent, I would be able to advocate for the arts and begin to create systemic change in the community.

What have been your biggest accomplishments during your tenures as Superintendent?


I am most proud of the approval of building a new middle/high in Winthrop and a new high school in Stoneham, as well as revitalizing the arts in both districts.

Tell us about the middle/high school project in Winthrop.

 
When I came on board in 2011, the project had been paused because the district thought it would be best to consider a middle/high school as one of our options. After a few months, MSBA allowed us this option and the project moved quickly. When it came to the vote, the district voted overwhelmingly for the project. Winthrop had its challenges as the new school was built exactly where the old one was, so I was challenged with swing space for two years. In the end, it was a successful project. 

What was the most impactful thing you did to ensure the success of the project? 


Transparency! We made sure we communicated throughout the project to the community and listened to their comments. 

Tell us about your collaboration both with the community and with MSBA throughout the project. 


The collaboration was one of mutual respect. I believe MSBA is a great partner. I wanted the community to understand that even though this project was going to be expensive, that their eyes and ears were MSBA. MSBA focused on making sure we stayed on budget and did our jobs correctly. During the process I would remind the community of this, and I truly believe they trusted MSBA and recognized them as a partner working for the community. 

Tell us about your collaboration both with the community and with MSBA throughout the project. 


The collaboration was one of mutual respect. I believe MSBA is a great partner. I wanted the community to understand that even though this project was going to be expensive, that their eyes and ears were MSBA. MSBA focused on making sure we stayed on budget and did our jobs correctly. During the process I would remind the community of this, and I truly believe they trusted MSBA and recognized them as a partner working for the community. 

Tell us about the high school project in Stoneham.  


The Stoneham project started off very similar to the Winthrop project, but then COVID hit. The challenge was how do we connect with the community during this difficult time. We had multiple online updates, and, in the end, we were fortunate that we could have an in-person Town Meeting. We presented our project to over 1200 citizens and they approved it by an overwhelming 85%percent. However, due to the escalation of prices, we have had to make difficult cuts, making this process far more challenging than the previous. With that said, the committee is excellent and continues to work with MSBA to ensure the best project possible.  


Having worked on two projects with MSBA in two different communities, what are your main takeaways? 


Communication is the key to success! It is also important to work collaboratively with MSBA and utilize MSBA as a partner so that the community can build trust. When the community is on board the project will be successful. 

ABOUT THE MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOL BUILDING AUTHORITY

The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is a quasi-independent government authority created to reform the process of funding capital improvement projects in the Commonwealth’s public schools. The MSBA strives to work with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts.

 

 

 

[Interview by Meghan Schroeder - Summer 2022] 

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