Stamatis elected as school board chair

Margaret Stamatis
Margaret Stamatis

Secretary Margaret Stamatis was unanimously elected as the new chairwoman of the Board of Education Monday, Nov. 26.

She replaces Fran Walton, who has served as chair for the past three years, and will continue to serve as a regular board member.

“I am honored — it’s a little daunting,” Stamatis told The Press, “but I look forward to serving the community and students and staff.”

What does the job entail exactly?

“The board chair spends countless hours talking to board members, arranging upcoming board meetings … setting the agendas, providing liaison to our legal counsel, to the Board of Finance, selectmen, police chief, fire chief, town treasurer…,” said board member Sharon D’Orso.

The transition comes as the board is in the middle of a search for a permanent superintendent, who the board hopes to have in place by the beginning of March.

“I nominate her because I believe she’s the type of leader we need,” said Vice Chairman Doug Silver. “She works hard, instinctively collaborates…”

Silver was re-elected to his seat as vice chairman in an unanimous vote.

“Doug always points out the positives in our district, as well as not being afraid to point out areas where he feels we could improve,” said D’Orso.

Kathleen Holz, who joined the board in November 2017, was elected to fill Stamatis’ seat as board secretary in another unanimous vote.

As the nomination was read aloud, Walton could be seen dabbing her eyes.

“Doug says often to me, ‘you’re the main reason I’m on this board,’ and the way he says it … I think he says it positively,” she said with a laugh.

She admitted that they have not always agreed on everything, but “that’s the great thing about a Board of Education.”

“I have loved doing this … it’s a lot of work,” Walton told The Press shortly after the meeting.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she added.