by Julianna L
As the new superintendent of Duxbury Public Schools, former interim superintendent Dr. Klingaman oversees the function of the district as well as develops the budget and collaborates with school faculty to ensure goals are met.
“If there’s a small little interruption in something that’s going on, I’m the person that would get notified,” Dr. Klingaman said. “If there’s an issue with the ventilation system or if we have an issue with the heating or buses, I need to alert parents and communicate with principals.”
Dr. Klingaman came to Duxbury in the fall of 2018 to fulfill the role of assistant superintendent after serving as principal at the Martin School in North Attleboro for fourteen years. When she came to interview for the position, Dr. Klingaman was attracted to Duxbury’s beaches and campus. “I had never really spent a lot of time in Duxbury until I started working here,” she said. “I literally fell in love with the town the minute I got here.”
Dr. Klingaman’s aspirations to work in the education department came at an early age.
“When I was young and people used to play school, I ran the principal’s office and my two friends would play as teachers who worked for me.”
After graduating from college and working at a residential group home, Dr. Klingaman was inspired by her relationships with the teenagers to go back to school at Northeastern University.
When given the chance to apply for the superintendent position, Dr. Klingaman was excited to stay with the Duxbury school systems.
“I have grown to love this community and I felt as though I would be able to lead the school district,” she said. “It’s a wonderful place to work.”
However, the role of superintendent came with great responsibility and change.
“As a superintendent, I miss my direct interaction with students,” said Dr. Klingaman, who appreciates her time with students more than ever before. “I usually talk to the principals every single day at least once and then I try to visit classes to see the kids or to say hello.”
Over the course of the pandemic, Dr. Klingaman has prioritized easing the social, emotional, and academic stress of coming back to school.
“For students, it’s been an adjustment coming back to school after hybrid or remote learning.”
Dr. Klingaman has strived to maximize support for students to ease this transition.
Dr. Klingaman also stresses the importance of self-care and reliance on family members.
“It’s a big responsibility to make sure everything is running smoothly,” she said. “I strongly believe that you have to take care of your own health, sleep, and prioritize exercise. Sometimes you have to say, ‘Okay, I’m just going to take a break from work for the day.’”
With an eighteen-year-old daughter and a son in his sophomore year, Dr. Klingaman brings her kids to school events when possible.
“I’m really lucky to have such a wonderful family because I couldn’t do my job if it was just me doing it all myself. My family is very patient with me and they definitely help me out around the house.”
During her experience in life and through her career, Dr. Klingaman has learned that “the most important thing in life is just to listen and form positive relationships with both students and parents. I try to be open to having conversations with anybody that I meet.”
Dr. Klingaman hopes to make each Duxbury student feel included and supported at school.
Social studies department head Mr. Alberti has worked with Dr. Klingaman over the past four years to set goals and priorities for the social studies curriculum.
“She has been a positive mentor in that process,” said Mr. Alberti. “Dr. Klingaman has modeled best practices for teachers and administrators through the evaluation process, walk-throughs of classrooms, and one on one and group meetings.”
A member of the school board, who asked to remain anonymous, is tasked with creating policies and budgets for the fiscal year. Each year, the school committee evaluates the superintendent in front of a live audience, determining whether or not Dr. Klingaman has navigated the pandemic properly and achieved education-related goals. To ensure transparency, the meetings are televised on a local cable station. The board member agrees that Dr. Klingaman possesses two important skills as superintendent.
“For me, it was really clear that she has both leadership and management skills, and that’s hard to find in one person. I think Duxbury’s really lucky to have her.”
Communication and collaboration are two key components to Dr. Klingaman’s daily tasks as superintendent, as Dr. Klingaman must take into account the opinions of principals, parents, and curriculum directors.
The school board member says that “She’s done a really good job of navigating stakeholders. That’s one of the hardest parts of the job. She sends out Friday emails every week to the parent community which I think is great. She also sends the school committee emails to give us updates, and she’s very good at being inclusive in her communications.”
Dr. Klingaman encourages students to reach out to her via email, whether with feedback on school policy or simply to share with her.
“It’s amazing to hear what perspectives kids at Duxbury bring and what they have to say.”
Acknowledging the commitment of many Duxbury staff members to improve the school systems, Dr. Klingaman said, “I just think that sometimes the students don’t really know about the superintendent until they’re waiting to see if there’s going to be a school cancellation or not. But I think it’s always important to remember that there are a lot of people that work behind the scenes.”