Financial Gain at Wellesley Public Schools Too Much for Dees to Pass Up

Superintendent Dr. Anne Wilson says school salaries in Sudbury not competitive enough.

It was an offer he couldn't refuse.

And it was for a reason she understands.

Principal Jeffrey Dees announced in an email blast on Monday he was leaving to take the principal position at Upham Elementary School in Wellesley.

On Tuesday, Sudbury Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Anne Wilson said the offer made to Dees, despite it being a lateral move and to a smaller school, included a significant bump in salary. And the chance to offer his family a more financially secure life was something she understood.

"It's a financial opportunity he couldn't pass up," she said. "The salaries in Wellesley are much higher than in Sudbury. He'll make 25 percent more than here. It's a huge jump in pay."

Wilson, who is in her first year as superintendent, said she does not believe in holding people back from better opportunities, but admitted Dees' leaving would be a personal and professional loss.

"From my personal experience with Jeff this year and form what I've heard from others, he's done a wonderful job at Loring," she said. "He created a great community. I'm feeling the loss personally. But when someone is able to provide for their family financially, it's difficult not to wish them well."

Wellesley Public Schools Superintendent Bella Wong said she was overjoyed when Dees accepted the position.

"We’re thrilled he’s decided to come to Wellesley," Wong said. "The school committee is ecstatic, as well."

Wong said many things stood out about Dees during the interview process, which made offering him the position an easy decision.

"He clearly is an experienced educator," she said. "He brings a lot of positive energy. What we picked up is he has that certain magic with kids and staff. He has a lot of motivational and inspirational energy. He seems very kid oriented and respectful of other professionals."

Wong said Dees is taking over a school that is in great shape academically and hopes he can lead it toward continued success.

"He's coming into an established school," she said. "We hope Jeff takes the school forward and sustains its quality."

Wilson said the process to find a replacement for Dees is already in motion, but that because of the timing it might be difficult to find the right person quickly.

"We're going to post the position this week, see what candidates we get and make a determination," she said. "We'll have an interview team for the initial interview made up of staff, parents and administrators. I'll then take feedback to name a finalist."

Should a finalist be named, that person would then visit the district, hold a forum for parents and staff, and visit classrooms with student leaders.

With April vacation scheduled for next week, Wilson said interviews might not begin until May.

"If we can't find a finalist, we'll appoint an interim principal, someone who may be retired with experience, someone with a good track record to help us through next year. Then in the fall, we'll advertise again and hopefully find a better pool of candidates."

This is the second time in the past year Loring has lost an educator to the Wellesley school system.

Wilson hopes this isn't a recurring situation.

"The unfortunate thing is principal salaries are lower here ... so are teacher, support staff and central office salaries," Wilson said. "I'm worried to lose people in all roles. When money comes into play it makes a difference. When you have to support a family and you're offered another $25,000, that's significant and can be frustrating. Until salaries become more competitive (in Sudbury), it will continue to be a concern. It's not the best situation."

Dees declined comment for the story.


Enuff April 13, 2012 at 06:36 PM
I don't understand. The SPS school committee has some much cash on hand that they are willing to help out LS (subsidize Linoln even more). SPS has savings from the GIC and yet we are still using the fear mongering scare tactics. It looks like we are simply being set up for the next round of overrides or the poor kids will suffer. Wasn't last year when all the admin folks at SPS got their new Ipads? Meanwhile, up at LS they are hiding funds in postage meters and still crying poor! Don't be fooled again everyone. It is the same story each and every year.
CK April 13, 2012 at 08:20 PM
...if you think the reason is soley for financial reasons......why don't people ever speak the truth...there is a reason why loring's performance is signifanctly less....why did he send his kids to haynes?--let's bet he'll be sending them now to bates where Ieong is.
Gail Keene April 14, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Your remarks are so offensive, and untrue! Mr. Dees sent his children to Haynes, because he could obviously not have them at the same school where he is principal, and Haynes was the school that had the most space at the time. I defy any of you to turn down a job offer, where you made 25% more than your current salary, while leading a school with 200 fewer students. He has four young children and a wife to support, and their needs have to come first. The Town of Wellesley has always been supportive of its schools, and realizes that you need to offer competitive salaries to get the best people. They chose him because he was the best candidate, end of story.
Edward Stark April 17, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Why is anyone attacking Principal Dees? He serves the children and parents of Sudbury and does a damn good job of it. I think it's an honorable move that he had his children attend a separate school. In a town that's filled with conflict of interests we should be commending him for this. We also cannot fault him for taking the money. Not one of us would have done anything different if in his shoes. Good luck Principal Dees, we were lucky to have you. If anyone is upset it should be over Ann Wilson's comments in the final paragraph. She is supposed to be solving problems not passing the buck/blame onto taxpayers. Absolute garbage! This is a hire Sudbury will look back on in a few years and realize that it was a total and utter misfire.
CK April 17, 2012 at 04:29 AM
No way you can defend those statements without any knowledge of what is really happening. Did you know the superintendent of wellesley is leaving in June? Do you know why?? Do you really know if she did the best job at filling the position? What did Dees do for you? Did your child have some kind of special attention from him to ensure success? Maybe you really don't know how great Dees is or is not, unless you needed support of an educator, not an enthusiastic dreamer. There really is no way to defend the action of someone leaving just for the money, if they were truly vested in success of the school. I surely don't want to pay one more tax dollar to the salary of anyone that truly could care less about my kid, and only care about his own. Think about the difference between educators that have dedicated there lives to helping and providing the best education to the children vs the ones that just have a job with a salary, and they would like to have more trips to the spa and vacations. There are just too many people that think that they must blindly support everybody and anybody and everything just because it's here in our town. This is no way to ensure that anything can improve, and no matter where, or what, there is always need for improvement. Look at this as an opportunity to find someone who really can be a great educator and be dedicated, no matter what.


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