HOLYOKE — Holyoke School Committee Vice Chair Erin Brunelle confirmed she has resigned from her role through a statement posted on Facebook on Tuesday, May 21, marking the end of a decade of service on the committee.

“This year has been particularly challenging for my family, and we have recently decided to seek other options for education outside of HPS. With this, naturally my priorities have changed and will continue to migrate away from HPS,” Brunelle said in the statement. “I can no longer offer the position the dedication and commitment it deserves.”

Brunelle gave best wishes to the School Committee on their continued efforts to move the district out of receivership and regaining local control, an issue Brunelle had been on the forefront of.

“Thank you all for believing I could lead us in that direction, and I know you are a strong enough committee to continue the work without me,” she said. “I hope you all can try to understand that this momma had to make a tough decision that was best for her kiddo and family.”

Brunelle added she will remain the vice chair of the School Building Committee, thanking Mayor Joshua Garcia for the reappointment to the position. Brunelle did not return a request for comment by press time.
Garcia expressed gratitude and appreciation for Brunelle’s 10 years of service for Holyoke schools.

“I respect her decision to prioritize her family. She has been a dedicated, diligent, effective committee member and we are sorry to see her leave,” Garcia said.

School Committee member Milfred Lefebvre has been appointed as interim vice chair of the School Committee on Monday, May 20 following a unanimous vote by the nine school committee members present at the special meeting.

According to the Holyoke City Charter, the vacancy Brunelle’s departure creates will be filled by an appointment made jointly by the School Committee, City Council and Garcia. The appointed individual will serve out the remainder of Brunelle’s 4-year term as an at large member of the committee, a term she was just re-elected to in November.

The city of Holyoke invites interested residents to apply for interim appointment to the at large School Committee seat. Those interested are asked to send their letters of interest, accompanied by a resume to City of Holyoke Personnel Office, 20 Korean Veterans Plaza, Holyoke MA, 01040.

Letters of interest and resumes can also be submitted by email to personnel@holyoke.org. Applications will be accepted up until June 18, although candidates are encouraged to submit their interest sooner than the deadline.

Candidates will be interviewed at the June 18 joint meeting of the Holyoke School Committee, City Council and mayor. The successful applicant will complete Brunelle’s term, which expires in 2027.

“This is a crucial interval in the city’s history,” Garcia said. “We’re in the midst of working with the state to emerge from receivership. We need focused, conscientious individuals on our School Committee.”

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