By Scott Calzolaio Town Crier Reporter

After interviewing about 20 candidates, and narrowing the pool down to four, Cheryl Kirkpatrick was appointed as the new Interim Assistant Superintendent for Mendon Upton Schools. Fitzpatrick was introduced formally during the Oct. 4 School Committee meeting.

Kirkpatrick comes to Mendon-Upton with over 25 years of working in the public school system under her belt. With an official start date of Oct. 18, she said she’s ready to hit the ground running.

“I’m especially excited about diving back into the work that’s really made me passionate about spending the last over quarter-century working with public schools,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick has a Master’s Degree in teaching and administration, and a doctorate from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

From a social studies teacher and researcher, to a School District Administrator in Boston, Lowell, and Chelmsford, she was a well-rounded candidate, said Interim Superintendent, Maureen Cohen.

She said she was thrilled about Kirkpatrick’s hiring.

“She brings to Mendon-Upton a diversity of experiences,” said Cohen. “[Her experiences] have focused on building cultures where students and educators thrive and grow.”

Cohen said that there are invaluable ways that someone with Kirkpatrick’s experience can help her guide the district into a post-pandemic future.

“I’m really excited to have Cheryl joining the team. She brings a wide range of professional experiences, technical experience, and skill sets such as data analysis, and also experience in human resources,” Cohen said. “She just really rounds out our district leadership team.”

For the last five years, Kirkpatrick has served as the Director of Personnel and Professional Learning in Chelmsford. Her job involved mentoring teachers, integrating new teachers, and coaching school leaders.

The goal, she said, is “to make sure that there’s excellent instruction for all kids, and I think the way to do that is working with passionate adults,” she said. “I’d like you to know I jumped at the opportunity to join in this role.”

In Kirkpatrick’s previous positions, she’s taken the role as a sort of coach. With her experience, she’s found that guiding fellow educators, and feeding them advice is something that comes naturally to her. She said she very much looks forward to bringing this expertise to Mendon Upton.

“I love working with folk in the service of helping kids grow,” she said. “What I’m most eager about is getting into the classroom with some of these folks, and seeing that energy. That’s what brings us to this work in the first place.”