By Beth David, Editor
The Tara Quirk Kohler, who has been principal of Fairhaven High School for nine years, will now be the Assistant Superintendent of the Fairhaven Public School district.
Superintendent Robert N. Baldwin said the position did not exist before, and signals a restructuring of the positions in central administration. The district’s business manager left last year and the position was not filled. Instead, they found “other ways to do that,” he said.
The new position is more encompassing than a business manager. The job description basically says that the assistant superintendent will work in coordination with the superintendent for overall operation of the entire district.
Dr. Baldwin said that he and Ms. Kohler have formed “quite a partnership” over the last nine years, although he admitted, they do not always agree.
“Tara is very talented,” said Dr. Baldwin.
He said they have been trying out the arrangement this year and it has worked well. He realized he needs someone in that position and that she is very good at it.
“I want to formalize it,” he said. “It’s going to work. It’s going to make us even better.”
He admitted that after nine years of Ms. Kohler as principal of the high school, Dr. Baldwin was wondering if she was getting ready to move up to the next level, and he did not want to lose her.
“She would be a hot commodity anywhere,” said Dr. Baldwin. “So it’s a huge victory for us to have the next level be with us. She gets to move up to the next level and we get to keep her.”
He said it does not signal that he is going anywhere.
“I’m thrilled to keep her talent. We’re excited about the partnership to make the district even better,” said Dr. Baldwin, adding that he is happy with his own job in Fairhaven. “I’m very happy. I have a great team around me. “Don’t mess with happy.”
Ms. Kohler said she was not necessarily looking to move to the next level. It was Dr. Baldwin who recognized her talent for helping in various areas outside of her traditional high school principal role.
“It was a really hard decision,” said Ms. Kohler, adding that she had worked very hard to establish “a really great culture” at the high school and was hesitant to leave it.
She started helping out in various other areas where Dr. Baldwin asked, including at Hastings Middle School. She started working with HMS principal Nicholas Bettencourt in some areas, and realized it was a new way for her to make a difference.
“I have a good sense of the district and what we need,” she said. “I was feeling that I was seeing the bigger lens of this.”
She said Dr. Baldwin recognized that he needed someone in that position to do the things she was doing. She realized he would post the job whether she wanted it or not.
“I thought, do I want to have someone helping me, or do I want to be the one helping,” she said. “As long as I am helping as many students as possible.”
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