It came as no surprise that the current Mashpee School Committee was unable to conclude a contract with Dr. Steven Hiersche, the prior committees’ selection to serve as its next superintendent. It came as no surprise that the reconstituted committee, instead, chose to appoint Mashpee High School Assistant Principal Brian Hyde as superintendent.
Despite the lack of surprise, this is still a scandalous turn of events.
Only in Mashpee can an assistant principal without district administrative experience or even a doctorate leapfrog into the superintendent position. An unqualified “favorite son” jumps a line of three better-qualified finalists, seasoned professionals all possessing the extensive experience we wish Mr. Hyde possessed.
As we said in our April 14th editorial, Brian Hyde is too compromised and too inexperienced to lead a school district. He apparently has serious problems with the Wampanoags. His hiring will likely force the tribe into forming its own charter school or a Bureau of Indian Affairs tribal school.
Now here it is. Brian Hyde, the apparent scourge of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, is to be superintendent. What should happen next?
If the Wampanoag nation or any other minority has specific, attributable evidence of Mr. Hyde committing racist acts against minority students then the tribe should help the alleged victims file charges.
If Hyde is innocent, this will give him an opportunity to vindicate himself. If he’s found guilty, it’ll be a short ride to a premature retirement.
Meanwhile, the members of the tribe already know who their enemies are on the school committee. They may exercise their right to circulate a recall petition against those members and, if they obtain sufficient signatures, may take that process to a recall election.
A School of their Own
Much has been said in recent weeks about a possible Wampanoag Tribal School, organized under the authority of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, or a Wampanoag Language Immersion Charter School, licensed through the Commonwealth.
The formation of either institution would create a tectonic shift in the Upper Cape and South Coast’s school landscape. A successful Wampanoag school would draw Native American students from all over southeastern Massachusetts. If Wampanoag families move back to Mashpee when the casino is built, as predicted by tribe member Morgan Peters, then the influx of students moving into town and directly into a charter school might spell financial ruin for the Mashpee Public Schools.
Time to Fish or Cut Bait
No matter how shameful the conduct of the Mashpee School Committee, the ball is now in the Wampanoag Nation’s court.
We submit that the Tribe has been patient enough with the process up to this point. It is time for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe either to act on its desire to form a tribal school or to go on the offensive against the local school committee and “favorite son” Brian Hyde.
Take our POLL:
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