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FRAMINGHAM – In 2018, after a principal department in less than a year and a failed principal search, Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay announced Brophy Elementary Vice Principal Cynthia Page would become the new principal at McCarthy Elementary School.

While previous searches had staff & parent input, the announcement of Page as principal was not preceded by a formal search committee.

Four years later, the staff, specifically Framingham Teachers Association union members, have a lot to say.

On May 25 & 26, FTA members at McCarthy Elementary School took a vote of no confidence in their building principal.  

Of those who voted, 94% have non confidence in Principal Page.

There are 75 FTA members at McCarthy Elementary – 61 voted no confidence and 10 members did not vote.

The last time the FTA took a no confidence vote was against former Superintendent of Schools Stacey Scott.

The last time the FTA took a no confidence vote against a principal was more than 2 decades ago.

“I have no formal communication from the FTA on this no confidence vote,” said Supt. Bob Tremblay to SOURCE this afternoon at 4:20. “I am surprised the media has this information before me.”

SOURCE emailed Principal Page for a statement but she has yet to respond.

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Six McCarthy FTA members, as well as FTA President Chris Mulroney, met with Superintendent Tremblay on 2 different days in April to discuss staff concerns regarding. McCarthy staff describe McCarthy as a “toxic and retaliatory environment” that was created by Principal Page.

After those meetings, an attempt at a restorative meeting was held with Principal Page, Supt. Tremblay, 2 teacher representatives, Chris Mulroney and Framingham Public Schools Associate Director of Human Resources and Talent Development Tiago Gadens.  

FTA leadership said it was decided that Principal Page needed to restore the relationship between herself and the staff. 

The district hired “Sean Larry Stevens, who is the “founder and Executive Director of Sapphire Education, an ExecutiveLeadership and Life Coaching Firm where he consults Fortune 500 companies, celebrity clients like Kanye West, and school system leader.” Cost was requested by the news outlet along with the goals of the hiring.

Staff at McCarthy Elementary have filed union grievances, multiple “hostile work” complaints and now an “unfair labor practice” charge, said FTA leadership.

The current vice principal Jean Nolan, who served as interim principal at McCarthy before Page was named Principal in 2018, is retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

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In a letter to families in announcing page as Principal in 2018, Tremblay wrote, “Page, currently the Vice Principal at Brophy Elementary School, has proven turnaround experience, strong interpersonal skills, and has been an educator and leader in our district for more than 21 years. She has the necessary relationship-building skills to quickly establish rapport with staff, students, and families to provide effective leadership at McCarthy Elementary School.”

Page earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Skidmore College, a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Framingham State University and completed the Turnaround Leadership Academy, sponsored by Teachers21 in 2014.

When named as McCarthy principal the district said “Page has over 25 years of experience as an educator, educational leader and school administrator. She was a member of the Framingham Public Schools Music Department for 12 years and most recently, has served as the Vice Principal at the Brophy Elementary School. Ms Page believes that a successful school consists of a community that includes children, parents, teachers, administrators and all staff working together to create a caring, committed learning environment, one which will afford the best possible education for all of its children.”

But earlier this year one of her decisions caused an uproar in the community, when she told teachers they could not read certain books in class. Both staff and parents were upset by the decision, which has yet to be resolved.

The union said over the 3.5 years Page has been McCarthy Principal, “27 teachers have been moved to new positions and grade levels.”

FTA leadership said “some of these staff members have been moved multiple years in a row; 5th grade to 3rd grade to 5th grade back to 3rd grade or or Kindergarten to second grade to back to kindergarten.”

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“It is very difficult for a grade level team to work collaboratively when half of the team is new year after year.  Just when a teacher learns a new grade level curriculum, they are moved to another grade level. This practice of regularly shuffling staff between grade levels is not in the best interest of students,” said McCarthy teacher Lisa Zanella, who has been at the school for more than three decades. She teachers grade 3.   

Over the last 3.5 years, turnover at the elementary school has been high said the union.

“61 staff members have left, 34 of those people made their decision in part if not all because of building leadership,” said FTA leadership. 

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.