UPDATE: Kingston Named Belmont's Interim Superintendent
Central office experience overriding factor for selection by School Committee.
Arlington's Dr. Thomas Kingston, who spent nearly two decades in the Chelsea School system ending his tenure as its superintendent, was selected to become the interim superintendent of Belmont School District for the 2011-12 school year at the Belmont School Committee meeting, June 14, at the Chenery Middle School.
The School Committee passed a measure inviting Kingston to enter into contract negotiations to lead the Belmont schools on a one-year appointment as the committee now gears up to find a full-time superintendent to take the reins in July 2012.
The Arlington resident is Chelsea's Superintendent of Schools since 2004, but is scheduled to leave that position this month. Before his current position, he was the system's assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for 10 years.
Before his tenure in Chelsea, Kingston worked for Vice President Al Gore and was an assistant to Lynn Cheney at the National Endowment for the Humanities where he worked from 1982 to 1993. He began his teaching career as an English teacher in New Trier, Ill.
Kingston has a PhD from Northwestern and a BA from Cornell. His is a professor in both the School of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University.
In an earlier preference vote, the School Committee voted 5-1 in favor of Kingston with Laurie Slap selecting Belmont High School's current principal, Dr. Michael Harvey, last night's other finalist.
Harvey will return to his position leading the High School as many on the school committee expressed a need for stability in that position during the coming state accreditation process.
In their discussions before the preference vote, Kingston's experience running a school district's central office was an important and, for some, the overriding factor in his selection.
While noting her great respect for Harvey, Becky Vose said she would be "more comfortable with someone who has done this before."
Fellow committee member Karen Parmett also noted Kingston's strong background dealing with the highly-charged politics in Chelsea as well as his work with future school leaders.
"I'd like to have both (Harvey and Kingston) and we can in a framework," said Kevin Cunningham. And with their vote, the School Committee accomplished Cunningham's goal.