AYER/SHIRLEY -- Ayer Shirley Regional School District Superintendent Carl Mock announced Nov. 5 that he is resigning at the end of his three-year contract this June.
"He has done an exceptionally superior job and he just wants to move on to something else," said School Committee member Joyce Reischutz after the announcement.
She said the committee has initiated the practices of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to begin the search for a new superintendent.
The regional school committee chose Mock in March 2011 after an extensive search that yielded 31 applicants. The new regional district was formally established in July of that year.
A resident of Shirley, Mock has 38 years of experience in public education, including 15 years as superintendent of the Hartford School District in White River Junction, VT. He also served as director/superintendent of the River Valley Technical Center School District in Springfield, VT, and as a principal/superintendent in Little Compton, RI.
Prior to moving into administration, he taught at both the elementary and secondary levels.
In his short tenure with the district, Mock has overseen not only the formal merger of two separate school districts, but also a feasibility study and current renovation of the 52-year-old high school building in Ayer.
He has attended many budget and selectmen's meetings in both Ayer and Shirley, and grappled with a number of difficult financial situations, including changes in the state formula for communities' required local contributions (RLCs), which threatened to drastically alter the budget of the district and the two towns.
"Carl has worked for 25 years in some kind of role as a school leader, and while he has valued his time with Ayer-Shirley, he said that he wants to spend his final years working doing something a little different," remarked School Committee Vice-Chair Susan Therriault.
"He has, in a very short period of time, steered the ship of the regional school system through a lot of changes, including repairing relationships with both towns. He is quite well respected with town leadership in both Ayer and Shirley," she said.
Therriault stated that Mock's approach and experience have allowed him to see the long- term and to think about the short term in getting to that long-term goal.
In explaining his decision not to renew his contract, she said, he talked about a lot of the potential in the new region.
"He really navigated through the politics of a (debt exclusion) related to the renovation of the high school," said Therriault.
For the building renovation to proceed, each of the two towns had to approve a debt exclusion. A second joint "yes" vote was also required. Both votes passed by wide margins, authorizing the district to borrow up to $56.6 million. Up to nearly 70 percent of that amount, or $37 million, will be reimbursed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
"That building is really a landmark for the region," Therriault emphasized.
The region's first superintendent also oversaw the agreement that Ayer would contribute to the remaining debt owed on the middle school building in Shirley.
"He is very balanced in his approach to two towns that are new to regionalizing," Therriault said of Mock. "He not only saw that renovating the high school in Ayer was important to the region and in branding the region, but also that ensuring the balance in funding between the two towns would strengthen relationships. Very smart."
Mock was unavailable for comment at the time of the filing of this story.