WESTFORD -- Gearing up for the new academic year, members of the Nashoba Valley Technical School Committee voted last Tuesday night to fill a number of key positions in the district's administrative staff, including that of the long-vacant assistant superintendent.
According to Superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz, the position of assistant superintendent had been left unfilled since 2009 due to the impact on the school's budget of the current economic climate.
With the decision by the School Committee to finally fill the position, interviews were conducted, with Denise O'Loughlin receiving the most positive feedback from committee members.
Currently serving as vocational director at the Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, O'Loughlin at first did not seem a perfect fit, with evaluations noting that she had little budgetary experience and would likely "need mentoring."
However, O'Loughlin did impress School Committee members by setting "lofty goals" for herself, coupled with much experience on vocational subjects.
The other two candidates included Richard Martin, principal/superintendent at Franklin County Regional School, and Thomas Markham, chief financial officer of the Gloucester school system.
Initial concerns that whoever was hired might assume that being assistant superintendent would place them next in line to take over as superintendent when Klimkiewicz's contract ran out in 2016 were allayed by the superintendent herself.
The superintendent told committee members at a July 24 meeting when the three finalists for the position were reviewed, that though she preferred to hire from within, no one holding the assistant position should consider themselves "heir apparent."
The July 24 meeting ended with the committee giving Klimkiewicz permission to meet with the three finalists one on one and to bring her choice back for a final vote of approval by the School Committee.
That vote took place last Tuesday night with little discussion.
"We're extremely pleased with our selection," summed up committee Chairman Kevin McKenzie following last Tuesday night's decision.
"This was a very important appointment," agreed fellow member Sam Poulten.
"I am so excited and eager to work here," O'Loughlin told committee members upon her being hired. "I'll do my absolute, very best."
O'Loughlin, who is expected to start work after Labor Day, takes over a position previously held by Victor Kiloski.
Also last Tuesday night, committee members voted to approve the appointment of Denise Pigeon as Title IX coordinator and Jobee O'Sullivan as 504 coordinator.
With the three appointments, the school's administration is expected to be complete in time for the first day of school, scheduled for Aug. 29.
The school expects an incoming freshman class of 176 students.