SOUTH HADLEY — After serving as interim superintendent for the last year, the School Committee unanimously approved to name Mark McLaughlin as superintendent for the 2024-25 school year.

In January 2023, the School Committee promoted at the time acting Superintendent McLaughlin to the role of interim superintendent following the formal resignation of previous Superintendent Dr. Jahmal Mosley on Dec. 31, 2022.

At its Feb. 1 meeting, the School Committee unanimously approved promoting McLaughlin from interim superintendent to superintendent.

School Committee member Dan Vieu discussed his experience with McLaughlin thus far and why he approved at least one more year of him at the helm.
He said, “His ability to kind of take on the tough subject matters, advocate for the teachers, being very transparent and responsible with this role, I think it makes sense to move forward with this offer.”

School Committee Larry Dixon talked about how he likes McLaughlin’s approach to answering questions and obstacles that faces the schools.

He said, “I have always been impressed with how he handled of the questions and issues his guidance with this work, and I am happy he even would consider to sign the contract as we continue outlining different challenges.”

School Committee member Lynda Pickbourn talked about how it is important to have a familiar face in charge with a couple big items coming up for South Hadley schools.

She said, “There has been a lot of institution building that he has done in the last three years and I feel like the district is moving forward and this is sort of a crucial year in the sense that we got a lot of things going on the building project and all these other things so I’m really glad there is going to be continuity in leadership so this is great news.”

Recently the Massachusetts School Building Authority voted to invite Mosier Elementary School into its eligibility period which is the first step in securing state funds for the replacement of the school building.

It will assist the MSBA in identifying early in the process whether a district is ready to manage and fund a capital project.

School Committee Chair Eric Friesner explained the reasoning for just a one year contract.

“We are only talking about a one-year contact because as we all know Dr. McLaughlin lives mighty far away so we have been doing this one year at a time because I don’t know if anyone is ready to make a commitment to make that commute for years and years and years,” he said.

McLaughlin smiled and gave a thumbs up to Friesner’s comment.

McLaughlin added, “I am very grateful for all the [School Committee members] and I think that we have a wonderful town and a wonderful district and I am very pleased to be a part of its growth through easy times, good times, challenging times and wherever there are kids, there are a group of people who need to be there to help them and I am grateful to be a part of that in South Hadley.”

School Committee member Danielle Cooke said she was excited to see McLaughlin be around for at least one more year as she will be running to keep her seat on the committee.

Cooke said, “I was hesitant on continuing on in another possible three-year term but to have [McLaughlin] here for at least the first of those three years is very comforting so I’m excited we can work to do that.”

The School Committee voted to extend the contract to McLaughlin.