AMHERST — After officially naming Ericilda Xiomara Herman the district’s new superintendent in late April, the Amherst Pelham Regional Schools School Committee and Union 26 School Committee officially executed a contract with the new superintendent.

During a meeting on May 17, the committees approved a three-year contract with Herman that begins July 1. According to the new contract, Herman will get paid $176,500 for the first year and the next two years will be renegotiated.

The contract also includes a reimbursement of up to $9,500 for relocation expenses.

Herman, who had served as the superintendent in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands prior to this, was one of three finalists for the new position. The other two were Joanne Menard, an assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Holliston, and Susan Gilson, an assistant superintendent and middle school principal in the King Phillip Regional School District in Wrentham.

The search came about after former Superintendent Michael Morris resigned in August 2023 amidst a Title IX investigation into claims of gender discrimination at Amherst Regional Middle School initially reported by the student newspaper, The Graphic. Prior to his August resignation, Morris took a medical leave in May when the claims were first made, placing then-Finance Director Douglas Slaughter into the interim superintendent role.
The Title IX investigation led to three Amherst Regional Middle School staffers being placed on administrative leave but ultimately later cleared by the district. Former Assistant Superintendent Doreen Cunningham was also placed on administrative leave before parting ways with the district in October. She had also filed a discrimination lawsuit against the district.

While the ARMS staff members were cleared by the district, the investigation report released to the public did determine Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools failed to effectively address claims of harassment and misconduct by middle school staff against LGBTQ+ students.

The selection of a new superintendent came with an extensive search process from a 19-member search committee made up communities, opportunities for public input and two-day visits from the finalists.
Many members of the Amherst Regional School Committee spoke highly of Herman when making their decision.

School Committee member Bridget Hynes said she believed that Herman could succeed in what has been a challenging environment as of late for the district and that she had consistently moved up through promotions in her previous district.

Amherst Regional School Committee Chair Sarahbess Kenney said being from another area could be seen as an advantage for the district with Herman. Other members shared common appreciation for Herman’s submitted entry plan being capable of starting seamlessly once she becomes superintendent.

Following the contract execution with Herman on May 17, School committee member Jennifer Shiao posted on her blog that she was very pleased with the decision to appoint Herman and argued that she has the potential to transform the district in positive ways.

“People who met her spoke of her warmth and ease in connecting with people,” Shiao said. “Her experience, expertise and focus on being student-centered make her a great fit for our district. I look forward to welcoming her to our district and our community.”

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