Community Forum publishes emails between School Committee candidate and former acting superintendent candidate


Credit: Eric Hiebert

This morning, April 21, an anonymous member of Wayland Community Forum on Facebook published an exchange of emails betweeen School Committee candidate Dovie King and Midge Connolly, who was a candidate for Wayland’s acting superintendent at the time.

Genevieve Morrison

During April 14th’s School Committee meeting, Member Erin Gibbons mentioned that there had been interference in the superintendent hiring process by a potential School Committee member, who has now been identified through emails published on Wayland Community Forum, to be School Committee candidate Dovie King.

“People were attempting to interfere and and cause issues with this process from our public directly,” Gibbons said. “It’s really disheartening that potential future candidates for our School Committee would insert themselves into something improper like that.”

These now-public emails revealed that School Committee candidate Dovie King had sent messages to superintendent candidate and current Weston Superintendent Midge Connolly on April 8 and 11. In these two emails, King disclosed that she had written an article for the Wayland Patch on the process of hiring a superintendent in Wayland.

“In an effort to be transparent, I wanted you to know that I wrote an op-ed about the hiring process for the acting superintendent, raising serious concerns and calling for interviews to come to a halt,” King said.

King’s April 7 article expressed concerns about the act of hiring an acting superintendent just two weeks before the town election, given that two new School Committee members will be on the committee starting late April, and that legal issues surrounding former Superintendent Omar Easy remain unresolved. These issues include Open Meeting Law violation complaints and Easy’s filing to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

“Given the complex web of legal issues at play, it’s both premature and hasty to make a staffing decision about the Acting Superintendent,” King wrote. “This decision will surely have a lasting impact on schools, teachers, staff and students.”

In her email to Connolly, King further informed her that residents may pursue a different hiring process in the future.

“Unfortunately, I believe you’re caught in a politically charged election year,” King said. “Our schools are in crisis and you should know what you’re walking into. I anticipate residents attending next week’s school committee reasons calling for a more transparent hiring process.”

Connolly responded, acknowledging King’s concerns.

“These are very complex times in education and we are all trying to do the best we can on behalf of the children that attend our schools,” Connolly said.

King then responded on April 11, expressing displeasure with Connolly’s message.

“I’m really disappointed with your response, and if I’m elected, will have much to say about the legality/ethics of this hiring decision,” King said.

Three days after this exchange, the School Committee selected David Fleishman, former Newton superintendent for the position. Since the publication of these emails, Wayland Community Forum members have expressed concern about what some perceived as an inappropriate intrusion into the hiring process.

King maintains that her conduct has always been ethical.

“Unfortunately, the race has become one of the most politicized and racialized ones in Wayland history and, as a front runner, some of my opponents have been going to great lengths to try to discredit me albeit unsuccessfully,” King said. “I stand by my integrity in stating that my conduct in this race has always been proper, above board and legal. Additionally, chiming in about a very public hiring process for an acting school superintendent is not only commonplace, but appropriate and to be encouraged for members of the public.”

Other community members take issue with King’s discussion with Connolly and believe that her involvement in the superintendent hiring process were unethical as a candidate for School Committee.

“I think it’s shocking that a private citizen would insert herself into an official proceeding like this,” Wayland resident Catherine Radmer said. “It may not technically be illegal, but it certainly tiptoes up to the line between illegal and unethical. And the fact that she was not transparent about making this contact suggests that she knew it would reflect negatively on her judgement.”

This article is a developing story that is subject to updates