The Swellesley Report slipped out of town two Fridays ago for an Orlando getaway — almost as quietly as Wellesley Middle School Principal Joshua Frank announced that same day he planned to resign his post effective in July (apologies, but more tortured tie-ins between our vacation and Wellesley happenings ahead…).
Frank filled big shoes by replacing the popular John D’Auria in the fall of 2008 and he won over many students and parents during his tenure, though not all teachers were sold on him. It’s not too surprising Frank didn’t elaborate on why he was leaving or where he’d be going though — the principal was no showboating Shamu.
He has kept a low profile outside of the school and maintained a non-controversial style within it, supporting mainstream issues such as anti-bullying and self advocacy. Even when WMS made headlines last year because of the mosque field trip controversy, it was Superintendent Bella Wong answering most of the questions. The nature of Frank’s departure has left lots of parents wondering what the heck happened (our inbox was flooded with inquiries) and is sure to leave students puzzled, too (After all, Frank wrote in a March newsletter about a student who asked Frank where he’d been when he was missing for just one morning.)
Frank’s resignation obviously didn’t come as a surprise on Friday the 17th to Wellesley Public School officials, who named his replacement (Wellesley High’s Jamie Chisum) as swiftly as this Gatorland alligator snapped at this dangling chicken carcass.
In announcing Frank’s replacement, Wong gave the outgoing WMS principal a brief but positive send-off that read in part: “I continue to retain only the highest respect for Josh’s professionalism and wish him well as he moves forward.” (Maybe Frank will head back to the Brookline public school system he was at before coming to Wellesley — after all, Wellesley recently hired away a Brookline school administrator to take over as Schofield Elementary’s principal.)
Speaking of disappearing, we were away when Whitey Bulger got nabbed. Great news, though the downside will be watching Wellesley’s Howie Carr milk it.
Separately, while we were enjoying 99 degree weather in Orlando, the heat rose around Wellesley’s Haynes Management over the controversy regarding its parting ways with a longtime employee whose cancer-stricken wife is battling for her life. While we were away, Haynes issued a couple of statements, one including obligatory blame-the-media language and another stating all parties had sorted things out. Meanwhile, the company has become the subject of Facebook, Twitter, website and petition pages online organized by those who want the company to compensate the ex-employee more fairly and who want to bring attention to the company’s business practices. No doubt the realtor would love to conjure up some Harry Potter-like magic and make this whole thing go away at this point (couldn’t help thinking of Wellesley Town Hall when we spied the Hogsworth castle at Universal).
One Haynes property of particular interest is the Whole Foods space in Wellesley Hills, which will soon be vacated as the grocer takes its show down the road to the former Star Market and Tian Fu spot. While we were away, the building at the new location started to look a lot more store-like, gaining front window panes and more cement structure. It’s set to open in late August.
That wasn’t the only business moving and shaking going on either. Staccato, a women’s clothing and accessories store that replaces Isabel Harvey in Linden Square, has now set up shop.
Something’s missing at 402 Washington St. (their front window used to have telescopes or compasses or something shiny in it…) and now there’s a For Rent sign up.
Looks like we missed some rainy weather, too, as town concerts and outdoor movies got nixed or postponed. About the only rain we got in Florida was a scary lightning storm one night that closed the big roller coaster I swear we were really, really going to go on at Universal Studios for our grand finale.