Published: 08/01/2022 17:26:55
NORTHAMPTON — The school board has hired Roberta Jones as permanent business administrator, ending a search that had become a top priority for district leaders as the new school year approached.
The committee interviewed Jones, who goes by the name Bobbie, to replace Nick Bernier at a special meeting last week and voted to enter contract negotiations with her. Jones is currently a business administrator for the Hampshire Regional School District, where she has worked for 26 years; Bernier left the district in June for a job in Easthampton.
Jones explained how she manages the separate budgets of five school departments – two regional districts and three city districts – and works with others to ensure that special education and other programs apply to all available funding. .
“I’ve been learning my whole life,” Jones told the committee. “I started at the bottom of the ladder in accounts payable, then moved into payroll and human resources,” then served as assistant business administrator for four years and took the job on higher five years ago.
She said that because the district “doesn’t have a lot of staff, I also wear the hat for overseeing and managing our facilities department, food service, and transportation.” Jones acknowledged the “really qualified people in my cafeterias who are excellent” and downplays his day-to-day involvement.
The meeting was Jannell Pearson-Campbell’s first appearance before the school committee since she was hired as acting superintendent last month. She previously said filling the role of corporate director was a top priority for her term, which lasts up to a year until a permanent replacement is found for former superintendent John Provost.
Before Pearson-Campbell began work, Susan Wright served as both acting business manager and acting superintendent.
Reached by phone, Jones said her expected start date was October 1.
“It’s going to be quite a change and I can’t wait for it,” Jones said.
“She has a wonderful background,” said Gwen Agna, vice-president of the school committee, on Monday. “I’m not saying it will be a piece of cake, but it will be a little easier than dealing with five different districts.”
Brian Steele can be contacted at [email protected]