HOPKINTON — A 38-year-old education consultant, mother of four, and Navajo Nation citizen will replace Reverend David Stall on the Chariho school board.
Hopkinton City Council voted 3-2 on Monday night to appoint endawnis Spears (Dine/ Ojibwe/ Chickasaw/ Choctaw) to replace Stall, who resigned from his seat after complaining about transparency issues and alleged efforts to silence him and prevent him from putting several items on the agenda of school council meetings.
The vote came after a discussion in which Councilor Scott Bill Hirst accused the council of playing politics and not supporting Stall in his quest to give parents a voice in the community. Hirst and Councilman Michael Geary opposed the nomination of Spears, a Democrat, to fill the vacant seat.
Council Vice Chair Sharon Davis said Spears’ background as a dedicated education consultant places her in a unique position to bring expert opinion to committee discussions, training and education. policy development.
“She is committed to implementing the RIDE Standards to better serve students, administrators and educators,” Davis said. “Endawnis’ expertise, experience and dynamism would be well received by the Chariho Schools team and will allow them to get off to a flying start.”
Spears is the co-director of the Upstander Academy, a Boston-based professional development group that aims to provide classrooms and educators with tools to teach about genocide. She is also Director of Outreach and Programming and a founding member of the Akomawt Educational Initiative, an Indigenous education and interpretive consultancy for museums, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. .
Born in Arizona, Spears attended the University of Denver and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology.
Spears will serve the remainder of the term, which is due to expire in November 2022. She was selected over Republican Polly Hopkins and unaffiliated candidates Tyler Champlin and Sylvia Stanley. Stanley had stepped down from his seat in early 2020 to help care for her late husband, former Hope Valley Fire Chief Fred Stanley.
While Hirst and Geary praised Spears’ record, they lent their support to Champlin, an accountant who each said he would be able to help resolve a disconnect between the district and the public regarding Chariho’s annual budget, as well as having the skills to oversee financial records.
“Any time you meet a money guy who wants to get involved and is good with numbers, you run with him,” Geary said.
Hirst also expressed his “contempt for the school committee” and challenged the board’s decision to choose a Democrat to replace Stall, a Republican. He also publicly questioned the decisions of employees, including Hope Valley Elementary School principal Giuseppe Gencarelli, to send emails supporting one of the candidates. Davis said employees are also entitled to their opinion and have the right to express it.
In his comments, Hirst also expressed concern that council members failed to support Stall while he served, allowing his voice to be muffled by not allowing his agenda items.
“I’m unhappy with both the school committee and this council,” Hirst said. “We had a very competent member, Pastor Dave Stall, and he wasn’t even allowed to put things on the agenda. I think any member of an elected board has the right to put something on the agenda. the agenda and the school committee and this council did not stand behind him.
Stall, pastor of First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church, was appointed to the school board in February 2020 following Stanley’s resignation. His resignation came at the start of the Chariho school committee meeting on September 28, in which he delivered a speech criticizing committee members and efforts “to silence dissenting opinions” following a series of contentious meetings in which Stall challenged mask mandates and voiced concerns. that certain aspects of CRT were potentially being taught to students in the district.
Board Chairman Stephen Moffitt Jr. questioned Hirst’s reasoning and defended the board, which he said was in no way inappropriate to Stall, his decision, or his opinions.
“Scott, your comments about Dave Stall and that we should support him, I find completely ridiculous,” he said. “You shouldn’t put anything on this board to know where we are and how we are.”