Herman signs on as Amherst-Pelham Regional superintendent

Ericilda Xiomara Herman, Amherst-Pelham Regional schools superintendent

Ericilda Xiomara Herman, Amherst-Pelham Regional schools superintendent

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 05-21-2024 4:53 PM

AMHERST — A superintendent for the St. Croix, Virgin Islands Department of Education has reached terms of a contract and will be the next superintendent for the Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham regional schools beginning July 1, earning $176,500 in her first year in the position.

On Friday evening, in a second negotiating session, Ericilda Xiomara Herman reached an agreement with the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee and the Union 26 School Committee, the bodies in charge of hiring the superintendent.

The regional committee, chaired by Pelham representative Sarahbess Kenney, and including five Amherst representatives, two Pelham representatives and one representative apiece from Leverett and Shutesbury; and the Union 26 committee, chaired by Amherst representative Irv Rhodes and including three representative from both Pelham and Amherst, were unanimous in their support of a three-year contract.

Herman will succeed Michael Morris, who left the district at the end of August after serving as both an interim and permanent superintendent since 2016.

According to Kenney and Rhodes, Herman brings a wealth of educational experience, starting her career as a paraprofessional and rising to become insular (island) superintendent of the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Education. They also praised her collaborative leadership style and student-centered focus.

Kenney and Rhodes noted that Herman will be the first Black superintendent in the history of the districts, which oversees the middle and high schools and four elementary schools: Fort River, Wildwood and Crocker Farm in Amherst, and Pelham.

Amherst representative Jennfier Shiao posted on her blog that Herman’s salary for the subsequent two years will be negotiated and that the contract also includes reimbursement of up to $9,500 for relocation expenses.

“I think she has the potential to transform our district in really positive ways. People who met her spoke of her warmth and ease in connecting with people. Her experience, expertise, and focus on being student-centered make her a great fit for our district,” Shiao wrote.

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Herman was selected by the joint committees on April 29, after an extensive search process that included a 19-member search committee made up of community members, multiple opportunities for public input and for the public to meet the finalists, and a two-day visit from the finalists.

In addition to her student-centered approach and extensive leadership experience, the committees cited Herman’s time in a diverse, multilingual society and noted she was the only one of three finalists with superintendent experience, though the other two finalists were Massachusetts school leaders.

The search committee received 10 applications, interviewed six candidates and presented the finalists under the directive from the Subcommittee for a New Superintendent. Working with search firm McPherson & Jacobson, a fourth finalist was going to be presented, but that person opted against continuing the process.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.