HOLDEN, Mass. — As Tom Pandiscio's tenure as superintendent of the Wachusett Regional School District comes to an end this week, members of the School Committee are reflecting on his many years serving the students.
After 28 years as an educator in the district, Pandiscio announced his plans to resign in August, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the termination of the district's business manager over a $1.2 million accounting error.
In a memo to the School Committee, Pandiscio had said he felt he would be "more of a distraction than an aid" in the district's effort to re-establish trust with member towns.
After Pandiscio met with the School Committee in September, it was announced he would retire on Dec. 15.
Though he was not in attendance Monday night, some members of the committee spoke about his work in the district.
Duncan Leith said, "There are countless examples of his leadership and dedication to Wachusett," such as the many hours Pandiscio spent selling and overseeing the high school construction project.
Leith also related an incident when Pandiscio went into a classroom with the Holden police to talk a student into turning in a handgun he had brought to school.
While the principal at Wachusett Regional High School, Pandiscio volunteered his time as a football coach, and when he took over as superintendent, Leith said, he "worked with a dedicated staff of administrators, teachers and aides to ensure the continued academic success of the Wachusett district."
A former student at Wachusett Regional High, School Committee member Erik Scheinfeldt had fond memories of Pandiscio when he was principal, known then as "Dr. P."
"What stands out in my memory of Dr. Pandiscio as a principal was his ability to relate and communicate with students. Despite the fact that there were probably 1,600 pupils in high school that time, Dr. Pandiscio took the time to personally get to know each and every student. Even though he held the title of principal, in working with children he regularly assumed the role of teacher, mentor, guidance counselor, friend and role model."
School Committee member Margaret Watson also remembered Pandiscio as dedicated and compassionate, and wished him the best during his retirement.
Glenwood Elementary Principal Anthony Gasbarro is lined up to take over for Pandiscio as the district's interim superintendent.