WILBRAHAM — Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee members voted to select Joshua Dickson as the new director of student services after interviewing three finalists for the position at the March 28 meeting.

Dickson, who has served as director of student services for Northampton Public Schools since April 2022, will begin his new position in Hampden-Wilbraham on July 1, he told Reminder Publishing. Dickson was also previously employed at Hoosac Valley Regional School District and North Adams Public Schools.

Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations and Human Resources Aaron Osborne stated at the April 4 School Committee meeting that the district’s director of student services position was currently vacant. During this meeting, the School Committee voted to appoint Green Meadows School and Mile Tree School Educational Team Leader Adam Garand as the interim director until Dickson assumes the position in July. Gina Roy previously served as director for the district. The posting date for a new director of student services was Feb. 12.

When asked about his goals for entering the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, Dickson emphasized learning about the district.

“My No. 1 goal would be to learn about the community and what they are seeking and help the [student services] department develop a shared vision and ensure we can develop services to support students and families,” Dickson stated.

He explained that he was interested in joining the district because of Hampden-Wilbraham’s focus on students, emphasis on cooperation and high-quality student instruction. These areas of focus align with his own educational philosophy.

“In education, my focus has been on placing students first. I believe that our goal as educators is to ensure that we have productive members of society who are able to give back to their community in whatever ways that they are able to do that and I think that as a director of student services and as a teacher our role is really to ensure that we have different paths created so that students can accomplish that goal in whatever way they can,” he said on March 28.

Another point Dickson emphasized was his work to “maintain humanity” when conversing with students, colleagues and families as well as in each of his decisions. He explained that this meant regularly and actively engaging with families as well as acknowledging their perspective of their child’s education.

Supporting students is “why I got into this work,” he said. Dickson went on to state that he “[believed] it was vital to invest in public education.”

In his work for Northampton Public Schools, Dickson worked to bridge the gap between the state and fellow staff, in addition to working to help parents better understand their child’s education. This was done through creating a staff training resource about the state’s new student Individualized Education Program forms and constructing an updated student services website to make information and contacts more accessible to the community, he said.

When asked on March 28 about other ideas he had for students services, Dickson described his idea to create an electronic “parent-friendly” IEP handbook to assist families in understanding the process.

“I am very eager to join [Hampden-Wilbraham] and thankful to serve,” Dickson said, stating that he was always available to families and community members in addition to Hampden-Wilbraham staff and faculty.

In order to “hit the ground running,” Dickson explained that he hoped to visit classrooms in each school prior to his start date to meet students and staff and introduce himself.

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