School Committee gathers and addresses discrimination filing, filling leadership positions


Credit: Tess Alongi

Wayland’s School Committee gathers on March. 1 for the first meeting since Omar Easy’s departure and the publication of his discrimination filing against the School Committee.

On Wednesday, March 1, the Wayland School Committee held its first public meeting since Omar Easy was put on leave, and his discrimination filing was released to the public. The meeting included a public comment period, an update by Acting Superintendent Parry Graham and information on the search for new administrators.

Chair Chris Ryan began the meeting with a statement on behalf of the School Committee, which addressed the recent discrimination claim filed by Easy. The committee remarked that it is attempting to be as transparent as possible under these circumstances, and noted its inability to comment on personnel matters or ongoing litigation.

“While some parties’ perspectives may be shared publicly, our hands are tied from commenting publicly in detail at this time,” Ryan said.

Some commenters raised concerns about the School Committee’s investigation into Easy’s conduct, which was officially approved in a November meeting. They questioned why the results of this investigation have not been released to the public, as well as the grounds on which the committee put the superintendent on leave. John Pierce, a non-Wayland resident, claimed to have worked with Easy for 10 years and commented in support of Easy’s character, criticizing the choice to put him on leave.

“I’m deeply concerned that in the absence of information in this school community after an investigation,” John Pierce said. “[Easy being on] leave gives a very big impression that something in that report was damning. We all know that not to be true.”

One resident, Jeff Sklar, referenced an alleged conversation that he had with a School Committee member about the investigation, which suggested that the School Committee may be intentionally concealing the results of the investigation.

“What I think is you guys have the findings and you don’t like the findings,” resident Sklar said. “I think the findings are gonna say exactly what Dr. Easy said. He did nothing wrong and you guys have behaved unscrupulously.”

Other commenters made statements in support of the School Committee and its decision making.

“I think it’s critical for us to remember that [committee members] are the ones with the critical information, context and legitimate perspective to make informed decisions that serve our district and most importantly, our children,” resident Doug Levine said.

Some commenters expressed further concerns with Easy’s behavior and the contents of his discrimination complaint, which was filed with the Massachusetts Commission on Discrimination.

“For over a year I have been listening to teachers’ concerns and criticisms about the superintendent,” resident Catherine Radmer said. “None of those concerns and criticisms were based on racial issues. In contrast, his defenses have been entirely based on race.”

The public comment period ended at about 6:20 p.m., at which point Parry Graham presented information on the search for several new administrators, following the announcements of departure by Happy Hollow Principal Tricia O’Reilly, Middle School Principal Betsy Gavron, who is seeking a one-year sabbatical, and Graham himself. The positions of special education director and director of student services also must be filled.

“I want to be mindful of our bandwidth internally to run multiple high-quality searches at the same time,” Graham said.

Graham is recommending one year interim positions for many of these jobs, as he, too is leaving the district. In preparation for his absence, WHS Principal Allyson Mizoguchi and WHS Vice Principal Sean Gass are both playing an active role in the hiring process for certain positions.

“I know I’m not going to be here after June 30, so I’m very reluctant to make long term leadership decisions for the district,” Graham said.