Newton Schools Superintendent to Join SOE Faculty

(4-28-97) -- Irwin Blumer, superintendent of the Newton Public Schools, has been appointed to a faculty post in the School of Education, effective Sept. 1.

In announcing the appointment, School of Education Dean Mary Brabeck said Blumer, who was named the 1997 "Superintendent of the Year" in Massachusetts, will teach in the school's educational administration and teacher education programs, and will play a leadership role in building SOE's Professional School Administrator's Program.

"Irwin Blumer has many years of experience as a successful school administrator and brings a track record of leadership to the Boston College faculty," said SOE Dean Mary Brabeck in announcing the appointment. "He also brings experience as an adjunct faculty member and has published articles on his work as an administrator."

The Professional School Administrator's Program, which culminates in doctoral degrees for elementary and secondary school administrators from across the country, will particularly benefit from Blumer's expertise, Brabeck added.

"He is a perfect choice for this program because he is a practitioner," Brabeck said. "His appointment reflects a renewed commitment to the program's theory-practice link and its outreach to the community - particularly the urban community - which is a central part of our mission."

Blumer, who holds a Boston College doctoral degree, has served as superintendent of the Newton schools since 1988, and was superintendent of the Concord (Mass.) Public Schools from 1981-1988. Previously, he held adminsitrative posts at schools in Concord, Brookline, Newton and Melville, NY. Prior to his administrative career, he was a social studies teacher and guidance counselor at schools in Easton, Wayland, Roxbury and Newton.

Blumer has spent the past three summers as an adjunct faculty member at Framingham State College. In the 1970s, he was an assistant professor of education at Lowell State College and University.

"The opportunity to return to the classroom to teach and influence the next generation of school leaders is very important to me," Blumer said. "I think Boston College is in a unique position to study and teach the various attributes students will need to become effective school administrators."

Blumer said education reform in Massachusetts and changing trends nationally are reshaping the school administrator's job, and he plans to focus his research efforts in three related areas.

"The first is administrative leadership; how school culture affects and influences leadership, and how superintendents, central administrative staff and principals make up a team that fosters systemic change.

"I also plan to research is governance - how school committees and superintendents work together.

"My third area of interest involves collective bargaining and how it has influenced education over the past 10 to 20 years."

Blumer is president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents for the current academic year. He edited and contributed to the Massachusetts School Superintendents' issue paper "School Culture and Leadership: The Role of the Superintendent" and authored the article "Developing Guideposts for Restructuring."

He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Northeastern University in 1963, a master's degree in history from Northeastern in 1966, and a doctorate in counseling psychology from BC in 1974.

Blumer said his decision to leave the Newton Public Schools was not an easy one. "I took this job with very mixed feelings. Newton is a truly exceptional school system with truly exceptional people," he said. But Blumer added that he does not plan to sever ties because he is moving his office across town.

"In my work, it's only logical to try to deepen the connections between the Newton Public Schools and Boston College," he said.

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