Jun. 24—After six months at the helm of Andover Public Schools, Interim Superintendent Claudia Bach is stepping down at the end of the month.
"I was never going to make a career out of being an interim superintendent," Bach said in a recent interview reflecting on her time with the district this year, but said she came back "because it was Andover."
Her main goal was to bring stability in an uncertain year, the former superintendent who came back from retirement said. Ending the year with every student in classrooms who wanted to be, and the recent passage of the school budget and the West Elementary and Shawsheen Preschool project, she considers her goals accomplished.
"It was such a joy, especially to be in schools, because I still knew people," Bach said. She had served as superintendent from 1998 to 2010 before leaving the district for a job with the state.
Her one last goal is to solidify a contract with the teacher's union in her last days, she said.
As one of the few people allowed in every school building in the district this year, Bach spoke about the amazing feats teachers and students achieved in classrooms. Unfortunately with the constantly changing guidance she wasn't able to share many of those stories, she said.
One story that stuck out to her particularly was how staff went house to house to bring students technology — laptops and hotspots — when they needed it.
As an Andover resident, Bach is looking forward to seeing how the schools continue to flourish under new Superintendent Magda Parvey, who is coming from Connecticut.
Bach has talked with Parvey, giving some advice and taking input into major decisions, like re-hiring Communications Director Nicole Kieser.
Bach is looking forward to getting back to her work with education nonprofits. She's keen on seeing what happens with the Town Yard and the Andover High School renovation project, which voters allocated money at Town Meeting to study.
"I hope to continue to be urging and cheering on (new building projects) from the sidelines, and do whatever I can to support them," Bach said.
In all of years as an educator and leader, Bach's advice to Parvey and others is to take a collaborative approach to making decisions.
That held especially true in the numerous conversations about brining students back to classrooms full-time with administrators and staff at all levels, she said.
"A single person doesn't make the best decision," she said. "A group of people make a better decision."