The Edgartown School will have new leadership next year, with both the principal and vice principal planning to step down this summer. 

After five years as the head of the Edgartown School, Shelley Einbinder-Fleischmann announced Tuesday that she will retire after the school year. In a letter to school officials, Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann said she planned to step down in July, kicking off a search for a new candidate. Last month, vice principal Mary Ann Bartlett announced she planned to resign at the end of June.

A special education director from New York, Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann was hired in 2019 and saw the school through the pandemic. In a letter to superintendent of schools Richard Smith, Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann said she took pride in adding 11 new positions, improving security and energy efficiency, and shepherding in the first phase of a new outdoor classroom at the school. 

The district will have two new administrators and two new committee members. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“I’m proud of the fact that I led the school through a pandemic while prioritizing the health, safety and social-emotional wellbeing of our students and staff,” she wrote. 

The end of Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann’s tenure came as a contingent of parents raised concerns about a lack of transparency and a pattern of ignoring parental concerns.

In February, nearly 200 parents attended a school committee meeting after 24 current and former Edgartown school parents submitted letters taking issue with the school administration, alleging ineffective leadership and a systemic breakdown of the school’s ability to serve all of its students.

The entire district, including the Edgartown School, is now undergoing an equity audit with the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium in hopes of improving safety, inclusivity and morale.

Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann raised the audit in her resignation letter. 

“While our changing demographic and increased enrollment present opportunities, effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges require ongoing attention,” Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann said. “It is my sincere hope that the Edgartown School community will embrace these challenges and work with the Mid-Atlantic Equity Consortium to truly become an inclusive school that promotes equitable policies, programs and practices that address the needs of all learners.” 

Vineyard public schools superintendent Richard Smith praised Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann’s work in Edgartown, taking note of her character and the work she did to keep education going even when schools shut down. 

“I think your integrity and your kindness is unmatched,” he said. “I will miss working with you.”

After finding a new Chilmark School principal just last month, filling the gaps for Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann’s role and the soon to be vacant vice principal role has kept Mr. Smith up at night as of late, he told the more than 30 people at the school committee meeting in person and over Zoom Tuesday.

“There’s not just one plan in place, there’s other options in place,” he said. “I’m 100 per cent confident that this school will be taken care of.”

Mr. Smith did intimate that there could be either an internal hire or potentially an educator from the Island community. 

“I will say that I’m going to look within the Edgartown community,” he said. “I think there are some strong potential leaders within this staff to look at assistant principal roles and I’m going to look within the Martha’s Vineyard Public School community to staff the principal role.”

With such a tight timeline for a new hire, Mr. Smith said he may exercise his role as CEO to appoint new administrators.

The school will also soon say goodbye to two sitting members of the school committee. Lou Paciello, the chairman of the committee, opted to not run for reelection and member Kimberly Kirk’s appointment on the board to fill a vacancy will come to an end after next week’s town elections.

Sarah Murphy and Kristin Finley Brown are running for the two open seats.