Dr. Kelly Chase is returning to Malden Public Schools as Assistant Superintendent. She has been in the education system for over 20 years and has been the assistant superintendent for the district before; now, she is back and reconnecting with the community. In June, she was appointed by the school committee to her new post. Chase has experience in both urban and suburban districts and was most recently in Lexington Public Schools. She says that it’s “strange to be back in the old context” but really great to connect with the people she has worked with before and to meet new faces as well.
So far Chase has been able to establish a good working relationship with her co-workers very early on. Superintendent John Oteri says “It’s been terrific, she’s phenomenal.” One reason why Chase and Oteri work so well together is because of their similar philosophies, which they say boils down to supporting student achievement and putting students’ needs first.
Assistant Superintendent Sandra Donah describes Chase as a “breath of fresh air.” Donah was the chairperson of the hiring process and says that while the competition was heavy, the decision was very easy. Oteri agrees, saying that Chase’s combined ability to communicate easily with others, organize information, her abundance of knowledge, and her previous experience in Malden made her stand out as a candidate.
As assistant superintendent, Chase is responsible for anything from overseeing grants that come from the district to everyday tasks like helping the superintendent when a problem arises. She also helps administrators with supervision and evaluation and works with directors on professional development. Chase’s favorite thing about working in Malden “hands down has to be the people.” She loves watching people come together and do “really great things for the kids in Malden.” She believes that teaching can be one of the most difficult jobs a person can have but says that she’s more than happy to be there not only for the students, but for the teachers as well. Chase believes she’s in a unique position to help others. She says that she prefers a collaborative method rather than “top down,” a hierarchical system where she could, theoretically, tell others what to do. Chase says she enjoys the collaborative piece because “work can be lonely when you’re not being collaborative and that kind of makes it exciting that you’re in this together.”
Chase describes feeling very excited when she found out she had gotten the job. She says that while she has had numerous jobs, she felt “like a 16 year old kid again when [they] get [their] first job.” She went through the process of multiple interviews, mainly with the people she would potentially be working with, and they asked her many questions about how she would address certain issues and how she works with other people. Chase values education and she’s benefited from many great teachers and administrators along the way who “have been [her] role models for very long periods of time.” She looks at everyone she meets as someone who has something to offer. Chase asks herself, “So what can I learn from them and what can I help them with?”