New Superintendent Voted In

By Chris Wangler
December 21, 2023

 

The Waltham School Committee voted Wednesday to offer a contract to Marisa Mendonsa to serve as Waltham’s new schools superintendent.

Mendonsa has been an educator in public school systems for over 25 years, mostly in Western Mass. 

“I’d like to extend my sincerest appreciation to the Waltham School Committee and the search committee for their time and dedication to this process,” Mendonsa said. 

“I am truly honored to join the incredible team within the Waltham Public Schools and look forward to meeting and listening to staff, students and community members in the upcoming months.”

The other finalist was Robin Desmond, the current Chief Academic Officer of Lowell Public Schools. 

Both finalists were interviewed by the school committee on December 12.

On the third ballot Wednesday, the school committee voted for Mendonsa by a 4 to 1 majority. She will now be offered a contract.

Veteran Western Mass Educator and Administrator

Dr. Marisa Mendonsa is currently the Deputy Superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools and has experience as a secondary social studies teacher, assistant principal and principal. 

“Her career has spanned rural, suburban and urban communities including Springfield, and Mohawk Trail Regional School,” Mendonsa said in a statement provided to the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. 

The school committee member who nominated her, Liz Al Jammal, learned more about Mendonsa from colleagues recently.

Al Jammal described her as people-oriented, smart, dedicated and a very good listener. “She looks for solutions, not quick fixes, and thinks outside the box,” she added.

“The child is the center of every conversation she has,” Al Jammal said. “Student voice is very important to her.”

Mendonsa holds a doctorate and degrees in secondary education, multicultural/ESL/bilingual education and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from UMass Amherst. 

“Dr. Mendonsa uses the knowledge gained from her doctorate in antiracist leadership from American University to ensure that schools are engaging in antiracist practices and procedures that move beyond statements and provide actionable responses to issues of diversity, equity, belonging and inclusion,” said the statement.

Marisa Mendonsa was born and raised in Massachusetts and lives in Northampton. She and her wife are the proud parents of two daughters and two dogs.

Courtesy photos