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A year after losing Easthampton position, Perrone offered Hampshire Regional superintendent position

Vito Perrone, at the time the interim school superintendent in West Springfield, interviewing for Easthampton's school superintendent job on March 23, 2023.
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Easthampton Media
Vito Perrone, at the time the interim school superintendent in West Springfield, interviewing for Easthampton's school superintendent job on March 23, 2023.

The Hampshire Regional School District voted on Wednesday to select Vito Perrone as its new superintendent.

Perrone lives in the district — in Westhampton — but works in West Springfield as assistant superintendent.

Last year, Perrone almost got the superintendent position in nearby Easthampton, Massachusetts, until his offer was rescinded because some committee members were offended by his contract requests and an email he sent using the word “ladies.” That controversy that ended up making national news.

Perrone has not yet negotiated a contract with Hampshire Regional, but would succeed Diana Bonneville, who announced her resignation amid the high school’s intense contract negotiations and backlash from educators.

Last summer, the teachers' union, the Hampshire Regional Education Association, voted no confidence in Bonneville's leadership. She announced her resignation in December, effective at the end of the school year.

The district recently resolved its contract issues in April after more than 200 days without one.

Jon Lumbra, who is the school committee chair of William E. Norris Elementary School in Southampton, one of Hampshire Regional's five towns, said last year’s issues were in Easthampton were barely brought up during the public interview process.

With the district going through a difficult period, Lumbra said Perrone may face some challenges as a couple department heads will be leaving their positions. On the other hand, Lumbra said, it’s a good chance to make some changes.

“It's an excellent opportunity for [him] to build [his] own team from the ground up, a fresh start, you know, 'How do you want this?'” Lumbra said.

“There's money there to do it, and it's a clean slate,” Lumbra added, noting the committee was able to secure some additional funding.

Lumbra said there needs to be increased outreach to the five towns to make sure the voices of the different communities are heard and issues are addressed.

Lumbra was the facilitator during the final two candidates’ public interviews. While both are professional, he said, there was a noted difference between Perrone's style and that of the other candidate, Marc Gosselin Jr., a former superintendent in Lenox who most recently in Connecticut.

“Vito was very energetic, very confident in his language. And it mirrored his experience as being a [football] coach, where Dr. Gosselin was very reserved — and very selective with his words,” Lumbra said.

Hampshire Regional High School chemistry teacher and union co-president Jesse Porter-Henry said it's a plus that Perrone lives in the district.

“One of the things with our district is it's unique in the sense that it has so many towns and so many school committees,” Porter-Henry said. “And I think it will be great to have someone who has some connection to the towns and kind of the unique nature of our district."

Porter-Henry is looking forward to building the relationship between educators and Perrone.

“That's kind of what I think every healthy school district hopes is that when the issues arise," he said. "The people, the parties that be can work together to solve them as best as possible.”

Contacted by text message Friday, Perrone said it may be premature to do an interview as he has yet to negotiate or sign a contract with Hampshire Regional. But he noted that his daughter, the last of four children, was graduating from Hampshire on Friday night.

“I am so excited for her and by this opportunity to serve the students, teachers and committees!" he said.

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