Medford Public Schools has found its new Assistant Superintendent.
On June 3, the School Committee approved Peter Cushing to take over the position, and Cushing is excited be bring his passion for education to the new role on July 1.
"I am really excited to work broadly across the district," Cushing said. "This type of opportunity to really go across the district or to focus on multiple sections of the district, that's really enticing and exciting to me."
Cushing applied for the job a couple of months ago and went through a "fairly rigorous" process with three rounds of interviews. The final round was with the School Committee during the first week of May, and Cushing said the last interview was difficult because it was something he "had never been through before."
"That was actually really challenging," Cushing admitted. "Not knowing who they were and their divergent view points, you want to make sure you are giving the best answers possible."
However, a few weeks ago, Medford Superintendent Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent called Cushing to tell him the good news.
"It was just a sense of absolute jubilation," said Cushing. "I was so excited, and I was fist-pumping and smiling like you wouldn't believe."
Cushing is replacing Beverly Nelson, who retired last June as Assistant Superintendent, and Edouard-Vincent explained why she chose Cushing for the job.
"When we had the candidates come in for interviews, Peter definitely connected with all of us," Edouard-Vincent said. "He was really able to talk about his passion, what prompts him to do his work, having a standard of excellence, really wanting to meet the needs of students and his experience."
Edouard-Vincent also said Cushing's experience in secondary education and his passion for collaborating with others and educating students will be crucial in his new role.
"We really felt aligned to his vision for wanting high standards and excellence for all students," she said. "We really felt like Peter's skill set most closely matched what we are looking for as a district."
Ready to learn
Cushing grew up in Lynn and attended Saint Anselm College. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees in educational leadership from Boston College, and he has considerable experience as a teacher, vice principal and principal at a variety of schools. Most recently, he was the Principal of Bartlett High School in Webster, MA.
"I am really just passionate about schools," Cushing said. "I think I have been very fortunate to have had the experiences I've had, to have worked with the staffs I have worked with to help me get to this point because this isn't something you do alone."
Cushing, who is 41 years old and started teaching around 20 years ago, further explained why he has worked in education for such a long time.
"I just really fell in love with it," Cushing explained. "The opportunity to be involved, to really have that idea of being a servant leader working with people to best support those in need and even those who aren't in need to give them the best opportunities to be successful."
Cushing said he is thankful for his past experiences and support he has received along the way, and he mentioned he is pleasantly surprised he has reached this point in his educational career.
"I don't think it would have happened this quickly," Cushing reflected. "I have always been pretty ambitious but there are a lot of things that have to fall the right way and a lot of support from a lot of different people."
In his new position, Cushing will focus on supporting the school principals, maintaining the "vision" of the Superintendent, being an "instructional leader," and he will work closely with the team to help "provide the best education possible for kids."
Cushing explained what attracted him to working in Medford.
"Coming from a school district like Narragansett, where I spent 10 years, it was really an all-hands-on-deck approach and this real sense of being involved in great many things and working with a tremendous amount of people and I really missed that," he said. "[The fact] that such great things are happening in Medford was really appealing to me."
Cushing is excited to begin and plans to really listen and learn in the beginning.
"I am ready to drink from the fire hose," Cushing said. "I want to learn as much as I can about the district, really become a part of the culture and really see what Medford has to offer from the inside and see what I can offer Medford.
"For me, the biggest thing is to listen and to learn and to really understand Medford and to understand the challenges," he continued. "I don't see this is a job. I see this is as vocation. I see this as something bigger than going to work from nine to five and getting paid."
Cushing wants parents to know his door is always open, and he will do the best he can for the students in Medford.
"I have an open-door policy," Cushing said. "If you see me at events, don't hesitate to come up, have a conversation, talk with me, let me know who you are. I want to be very invested in Medford and the Superintendent's vision, and I am very invested in doing the best possible job for the students in Medford."