Nixon Elementary School Principal Announces Retirement

Superintendent of Schools Anne Wilson sent out a letter to Nixon parents earlier this week.

Principal Joni Jay announced her retirement. (File Photo)
Principal Joni Jay announced her retirement. (File Photo)
Superintendent of Schools Anne Wilson confirmed earlier this week in a letter to parents that General John Nixon Elementary School principal Joni Jay announced her retirement effective at the end of this school year.

"I am sorry to see Joni leave us but I am very happy for her as she takes this next step in her life's journey," Wilson told parents in the letter. "Joni, along with the Nixon team, has worked hard during her time in Sudbury and her leadership has contributed greatly to the success of Nixon school. I wish her the best as she retires and relocates to be closer to her extended family."

In addition, Wilson said in the letter that she plans to work with the community as Sudbury Public Schools looks to replace Jay.

Wilson scheduled two parent forums that will allow residents to give their input on what they hope to see in the school's next principal.

The first forum is scheduled for Wednesday, March 5, from 7-8 p.m. inside Nixon. The next session is slated for Thursday, March 6, at 9:15 a.m. during the regularly scheduled PTO meeting.

The superintendent said there will be additional opportunities for parents to take part in the process during the initial interview and finalist stages of the search.

"I look forward to meeting with you and hearing your thoughts regarding the desirable characteristics of the next principal at Nixon," said Wilson in her letter to parents. "We will work together to identify a strong candidate to join the Nixon family."
sudburyleagueofwomenvoterssupporter April 08, 2014 at 08:58 AM
@Spirit of 01776 I read that she was rejected by Arlington Public Schools-how good can she be?
mosswoman April 08, 2014 at 09:02 AM
why can't we actually get the first choice? I also heard that the other Nixon finalist took a job somewhere else
Susanforchange April 08, 2014 at 09:10 AM
She also applied for a principal job and got rejected in her own school district! She applied in Arlington and Acton Boxborough just this year and they did not want her! Why should we have to take her! Google Karen Dwyer Tower and she can see she was a finalist in both places, but did not get the job. Come on Mrs Wilson none of the other candidates were better!!!
nixonparent April 08, 2014 at 09:32 AM
I thought she seems nice-though I did not know she wasn't hired by the other districts. I wonder why? She has a good resume and seems personable, but clearly there was something they did not like. Anyone know the background?
john baranowsky April 08, 2014 at 09:33 AM
If you can't score a leadership role in a quality K12 system, you fall back to SPS where there are no other candidates. Brilliant!
siobhan hullinger April 08, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Just because someone was not chosen doesn't mean there was something wrong. She made it through to the finals so she clearly was a quality candidate. It seems her expertise is ELA, according to her resume, which our district has a need for. Let's try and welcome her to our community before we cast stones.
nixonMUMMA April 08, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Well now, she is not hired yet, but I assume she will be. I was there last night, she seemed fine. It is true that she applied for, and did not get, a principal job in her current district. But who knows what that means, and that shouldn't be considered anyway. We have to trust Anne Wilson and whoever else who is involved in the hiring process. I'd be ok with her being hired. I could also see waiting for another good candidate to come along, just so there isn't "only one" option. That said, I suppose many (?) others were already sifted through, and this one was still standing as an option.
mosswoman April 08, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Thanks for your input nixonMUMMA! es anyone know the other candidates who were actually interviewed? I heard there were like 7 or 8. Any internal candidates?
Spirit of 01776 April 08, 2014 at 12:16 PM
It is tough to find a principal for a school that will be closed and retrofitted into a community center soon. Siobhan, those in the know are waaay more concerned with getting their kids into Haynes than the interim principal of a soon- to - be closed school. It is said that the HOP is now reviewing applications.
siobhan hullinger April 08, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Where can I find info on the Nixon school closing and being retrofitted? FinCom said Nixon wasn't closing in a recent meeting. If that is incorrect, please provide the link to the meetings where this was discussed. I wasn't aware that Sudbury changed to a school choice district……Can you tell me where I can find the language that allows for students in one elementary district can apply to another?
sudbury4truth April 08, 2014 at 02:04 PM
Bob Woodard mentioned closing it at a selectmen meeting a few weeks ago, but they cannot close Nixon because the remaining schools class sizes will go through the roof. On another note, I never realize that the new Nixon principal is almost 55 years old with no actual experience a principal (just three years as an AP). Furthermore, according to her CV, she is in the process of getting her certification to become a superintendent-clearly she needs this job to get to her ultimate goal of being a superintendent-though time is running out on her.
dcc April 08, 2014 at 03:15 PM
I object to the tone and content of the post by Spirit of 01776. If it's a rumor with no backup facts, then why make people worry? And if it is true, why make fun of the 99% of us NOT in the know? As Ms. Hullinger said, show us the proof that this is in the works. Someone may have suggested this as a possibility, but the article in the paper said it was not happening.
nixonMUMMA April 08, 2014 at 04:24 PM
Gimme a break. Nixon isn't closing.
john baranowsky April 08, 2014 at 07:38 PM
At some hypothetical future-time when conditions are such that district-wide declining enrollment trends solidify to the point that Nixon School is no longer needed to serve as a buffer against class-size non-compliance measured against guidelines, that school will close. The point in time if and when this scenario comes is not clear given the many unknowns and variables. But it would be Nixon simply because it is the smallest of the four K-5 facilities.
siobhan hullinger April 09, 2014 at 07:59 AM
John - the assumption is that enrollment will continue to decline. When all the new units on route 20, proposed units if Johnson Farm is built out without age restriction, proposed units if Melone is developed without age restriction and any other non-age restricted development units that may be built in the future, enrollment may increase sustaining a need for a 4th elementary. Our tax rate, coupled with declining scores, will eventually make us an undesirable choice so perhaps we will continue to decline. Either way, the need still exists and even though Selectman Woodard mentioned the closing of Nixon, FinCom…at a later meeting stated emphatically closing Nixon was off the table for now. In any event, the school still needs to operate now. Sudbury4truth - many applicants obtain certifications to widen a career path. It is not uncommon for those in administrative positions to seek higher certifications. I don't see obtaining certifications as a deterrent. In my view, it's a plus. Performance in current positions still matters and in order to be a quality candidate later, you still have perform well.
john baranowsky April 09, 2014 at 09:09 AM
You or Mr. Woodard are free to make whatever utterances you wish (unless you are making them before the ConCom in which case you will be quickly taken into custody). But that does not mean I have to take any such utterances seriously or feel compelled in any way to comment further on them. Goggle "if and when", "hypothetical" and "variables" for a better understanding of my comment or contact me offline to discuss the matter more thoroughly. Or ask Chuck what he has in mind.
mosswoman April 09, 2014 at 01:38 PM
Siobhan the reality is that this candidate is older and has limited classroom experience-other than her own getting degrees. I hear she is out of touch and the staff was not enthusiastic about her. My gut tells me she looked good on paper in terms of self education credentials, but the reality is that between not getting hired at other places very recently, the fact that she has not spent a lot of time in the actual classroom, the fact that she has higher aspirations than being a principal and the fact that she is in her mid 50's and has NEVER run a school as a principal means we pass.
nixonMUMMA April 10, 2014 at 07:35 PM
Well, the candidate was not hired after all. Anne Wilson will be looking for an interim principal (who'll be there for next school year, starting Sept 2014). Then, in the fall, she will look for a new permanent principal for Sept 2015.
john baranowsky April 10, 2014 at 07:46 PM
Good, she's finally listening.
John Q. Sybian April 10, 2014 at 07:55 PM
While this candidate was perhaps not a good fit, nothing can spell 'lost year' like the wrong interim principal. Hopefully Nixon will not have that kind of year.
mosswoman April 11, 2014 at 07:40 AM
Where did you hear this nixonMUMMA?
john baranowsky April 11, 2014 at 07:54 AM
Guys, please do not engage Kirsten VanDijk on this or any topic.
nixonMUMMA April 11, 2014 at 08:16 AM
mosswoman (cute name by the way, I get it!), the information was in an email distribution from Anne Wilson. I was quite surprised that this woman wasn't hired. Not because I totally loved her (thought she was just fine), but because I figured Anne Wilson et al liked her enough and thus would extend an offer in the interest of time. So Like John says, maybe Wilson is listening. That's great. Maybe the teachers didn't get the right vibe from this candidate. Anyway.. let's see who the interim will be. Could it be Mr. McGillicuddy? He's coming in the next couple weeks to cover Joni Jay's medical leave of "at least" a month. Everybody seems to love him. Let's see...
mosswoman April 11, 2014 at 10:05 AM
John-I am not Kirsten, just felt like messing with her so do not worry :) I must have missed the email from Anne-have to check junk mail, but thanks for the update.
nixonparent April 11, 2014 at 10:07 AM
nixonMUMMA does anyone know who else was interviewed? I heard Mrs. Faber was. Was she one of the finalists who took another job? It would be interesting to know, especially because having had her for one of my kids, I know she is WAY better than Karen Tower.
john baranowsky April 11, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Great! The enemy of my enemy is my friend!
nixonMUMMA April 11, 2014 at 01:09 PM
I have not heard who else interviewed. I could dig around and inquire but I suppose at this point it doesn't matter and we should collectively focus on the interim person and the Sept 2015 new hire. I love Jen Faber too, as a teacher she was beyond excellent. [We really don't know how she would be as a principal, but I'm guessing she'd be great.] Well, if she becomes a new principal in Framingham, then it may be safe to assume (though not guaranteed) that she was the "other finalist who accepted a position in their current district". By the way, Scott Nassa, school committee member, was at the parent meeting with Karen Tower. He must have given some feedback along with teachers, parents, and children.
nixonparent April 11, 2014 at 07:23 PM
You are funny John! I was hoping Mrs. Faber would get the job-she was FANTASTIC at both a teacher and a leader at that school. We actually had her when she was running her classroom and interning for Mrs Jay at the same time & did not miss a beat! Of course her being so good is probably why she wasn't chosen and Mrs Wilson chose someone that nobody at the school liked. To Mrs Wilson's credit, at least she listened and didn't end up hiring Dwyer-Tower, because I did not think she was good at all.
sudburyleagueofwomenvoterssupporter April 11, 2014 at 08:37 PM
I am just thrilled that are voices were actually heard on this! Now we just need to do a better job of finding stronger candidates to come to our town!
Matt Schooley (Editor) April 12, 2014 at 12:32 AM
Thanks everyone for weighing in on the Nixon search. I had been trying the last few days to get the information on record from the superintendent and was able to today. So I will have a story over the weekend for others who may not have heard the news on the principal search. Have a great weekend everyone!


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