Southbridge, Mass., Schools Get New Receiver As Part Of State Takeover

Jan 19, 2018

The state of Massachusetts has appointed a new receiver to oversee the Southbridge schools. He'll be the latest in a string of leaders who have tried to improve the district.

The Southbridge schools were taken over by the state in 2016 after it labeled the district chronically underperforming.

The new receiver -- essentially a one-person school committee and superintendent with broad powers -- is Jeffrey Villar.

He's a former superintendent who led a business-backed education advocacy group in Connecticut. He looked at what could explain the problems in Southbridge.

"One thing that jumps right out is the disruption of leadership," Villar said. "Having more than seven leaders in -- I think it's an eight-year period of time -- certainly creates conditions which would be hard for educators to be successful."

Of course, part of that turnover came after the state took over.

A receiver started in May of 2016, but about a year later, she was gone.

Then the state appointed an interim receiver.

Now it's Villar's turn. He starts February 12.