STOUGHTON MAN GETS TOP NORTON SCHOOL POSITION: Former Stoughton School Committee member Joseph Baeta is the new Superintendent of Schools for the Town of Norton.
The Norton School Committee unanimously voted for Baeta become the new Norton school chief at a January 10 meeting.
Baeta, who is in his fourth year as Superintendent of Schools in Holbrook, said that he left that system in much better shape than when he took it over.
This new job in Norton is a good fit for him in a number of ways. His wife, Michele, was a Guidance Counselor in Norton, but came home the past five years to take care of their daughter, Maggie. Since Maggie is now at the Hansen Elementary School in Stoughton, his wife returned to Norton Public Schools as a part time Special Education Chairperson.
Baeta is excited about his latest opportunity.
He tells About Town that “Norton is in a good place. They are looking for stability. Academically, they are doing very well. They are sending their graduates to great places, like Ivy League schools. Norton is truly ahead of the curve. They have a middle school that is only 14 years old, and a high school that is newly renovated. Their new science labs are gorgeous and absolutely tremendous.”
Asked to compare Norton with what we have in Stoughton, he tells me, “Being a graduate of Stoughton High School, I can tell you it didn’t look like this. But, you really can’t compare the two school systems. Norton is 93% Caucasian. Norton supports education with a lot of tax dollars, and is attracting young families who are flocking to the community.”
Baeta had applied for Stoughton's Assistant Superintendent’s job years ago (which eventually went to present Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Marguerite Rizzi).
He looks back with some sadness at the experience, telling me, “I had given back to the community, had been deeply involved in the schools, and spoke the language of a third of the population. At the time, school committee member Allan Mills thought I deserved at least the courtesy of an interview. But, I never got one. Sometimes, political involvement can hurt you. But, I've moved on, and it's turned out for the best.”
And, make no mistake about it, Baeta loves his town. He said, “I think Stoughton offers some of the best services for the dollars spent. I will always bleed black and orange.”
He likes it so much here that he took himself out of the running for the Hopkinton Superintendent position. He was a finalist there, and it paid more money, but he didn’t want to leave Stoughton. Norton is a reasonable commute, and Baeta said it’s the best fit for him.
“I felt comfortable with the screening committee and the school committee. It’s all about fit between the school committee and the Superintendent. You either have it or you don’t. There’s a very positive culture and climate in Norton. They’ve done a great job during these tough economic times,” he said.
About Town has known Joe Baeta for many years. I can tell you one thing - Norton got themselves a first class Superintendent of Schools. He's intelligent, innovative, and approachable. He'll do an outstanding job. The students in Norton will come to appreciate the decision their School Committee made to hire Joe.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Pastor Sean Sears of Grace Church in Stoughton. And, to my neighbor, Amy Miller, who works for Signature Health Care.