September 21, 2010

Amherst Schools Appoints First Ombuds

Amherst Regional Public Schools (sometimes referred to as the Union #26 and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts) in Western Massachusetts has appointed its first Ombuds. Barry Brooks, who retired in 2007 after 29 years at the Regional Middle School, mostly as a guidance counselor, has agreed to fill the new position, said Interim Superintendent Maria Geryk.

"This is a way to build bridges with communities and families who may not have felt heard," Superintendent Geryk said. Brooks will often act as a mediator and will "not be beholden to the school system," she said. Brooks will receive a stipend for his work and is expected to give particular attention to parents of African-American and Latino students. No other details about the role of the Ombuds have been made public. (Daily Hampshire Gazette.)

Update 7/24/10: The appointment of Brooks is hailed by parents and community leaders.
"I think it's fantastic," [Rick Hood, chairman of the Regional School Committee], said of Brooks' new role. The existence of a neutral party to handle disagreements "will be helpful in avoiding costly litigation," said Pat Ononibaku, who co-chairs the Special Education Parent Advisory Council.

Irv Rhodes, chairman of the Amherst School Committee, also praised Brooks' appointment. "The man is a living legend in this town," he said.
(Amherst Bulletin.)

No comments:

Post a Comment