hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


August 22, 2013

City native takes over school on Chicago's south side

Principal from Haverhill faces low-income, violent setting

Kevin Powers wasn’t looking to become a school principal, not until he got more experience as a teacher.

But the 27-year-old Haverhill native got a call from the Archdiocese of Chicago leaders earlier this year, saying they were in a jam and one of their most underperforming schools needed help.

It was a school in trouble both financially and educationally, they told Powers, who was teaching at another Archdiocese school. They said test scores at St. Margaret of Scotland Elementary School in Chicago’s south side were some of the worst in the district, parents were unhappy with many of the teachers, and the school was left without a leader after its principal quit early in the school year.

Powers happened to have experience working in just this kind of school.

“They said I was the guy they wanted,” said Powers, who was hired to become principal of St. Margaret at the end of April while he was still teaching at Our Lady of Charity Elementary School in Chicago.

“They definitely rushed my plan as becoming a principal wasn’t on my radar for another two or three years,” he said. “I love being in the classroom, but probably the biggest factor in a school’s success or failure is having a leader. And this school hasn’t had a leader who was a good fit for years.”

Powers didn’t waste any time giving his new school a spring cleaning. He cleaned out closets to make room for new curriculum and got rid of eight teachers who weren’t certified and weren’t doing their jobs, he said. He also fired a secretary who wasn’t doing her job and a janitor who wasn’t doing his.

Powers hired new certified teachers, whom he personally interviewed, and welcomed back four certified teachers he said he has faith in.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • 140808_HG_HAND_CUTTING

    Attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Marjorie Goudreault walkway are, from left, Elizabeth Delgado, special assistant to Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera; John Dimitry, former NECC president, and his wife, Audrey; Steven Buturlia of Pelham; Kelsy Buturlia of Pelham; Barbara Goudreault of Haverhill; Christopher Goudreault of Haverhill; Mary Goudreault of Tewksbury; Bill Moynihan of Haverhill, chair of NECC's Board of Trustees; Julie Reynolds of Middleton, N.H.; Patrick Goudreault of Haverhill; Matthew Goudreault of Haverhill; Lynn Morton of Tucson, AZ; Ann Corey of Atkinson; and NECC President Lane Glenn.

    'She was passionate about what she believed' Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • The city wants you Posted 6 days ago

    Joseph Roach is the new CEO and President for Holy Family Hospital in Methuen and Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill. He is standing in front of the hospital located in Haverhill. CARL RUSSO/Staff photo

    No, you're not in Methuen Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo
  • The Lamp Post Posted 6 days ago

    AMY SWEENEY/Staff photoRoyal Nails and Spa offers the best manicure, according to a vote by readers of the Gazette.

    More than just a mani-pedi Posted 6 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140717_HG_MSC_BURGER_3

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo The Lasting Room burger with hand-cut fries is a favorite of customers.

    Lasting Room burgers make for lasting impressions Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES3 [Duplicate]

    AP Photo/Yoobi Yoobi Pretzel Erasers make going back to school fun.

    Sharpening up for class Posted 6 days ago 8 Photos

    Staff file photo Buffalo boneless ribeye steak is offered at Haverhill Beef Company on Merrimack Street. Here, owner Peter Carbone holds a tray of freshly cut pieces.

    Get far more than beef at Haverhill Beef Posted 6 days ago 3 Photos

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Elaine Saragas serves coffee at Heav'nly Donuts.

    Best coffee brewing at Heav'nly Donuts Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

    PAUL BILODEAU/Staff photo Pentucket Bank President Scott Cote, left, and financial adviser Kevin McKinnon talk in the main lobby of the bank's Merrimack Street branch.

    Pentucket Bank is tops Posted 6 days ago 1 Photo

Photos of the Week