Shutesbury Elementary School principal leaving in June after 10 years

Shutesbury Elementary School

Shutesbury Elementary School STAFF FILE PHOTO


Staff Writer

Published: 04-15-2024 9:31 AM

SHUTESBURY — After 10 years as principal at Shutesbury Elementary School, Jacqueline Mendonsa is leaving the position at the end of June to relocate to the Boston area.

“It is very hard for me to put into words my true love and appreciation for our school community, staff, and most importantly, our students,” Mendonsa wrote in a letter to families that was reprinted in a recent school newsletter.

Her decision to leave comes as her wife is becoming a superintendent for a school district near Boston.

On Thursday, the Shutesbury School Committee learned more about the process to hire a successor from outgoing Erving School Union 28 Superintendent Jennifer Culkeen.

Culkeen said the job opening was posted March 25, with an April 30 deadline for interested applicants.

The interview committee will be co-chaired by Kelley Sullivan, principal at Swift River School, and Caitlin Sheridan, director of finance and operations for Union 28.

Culkeen anticipates that interviews will be done during the weeks of May 6 and May 13 and that finalists will visit the school and town during the week of May 20.

“We should have the principal selected by the end of May,” Culkeen said.

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Shannon Cleveland, the new Union 28 superintendent, will be part of the process.

“I feel it is really Shannon who is going to be creating and working with this leadership team, so her input is much more important than mine,” Culkeen said.

In her departure letter, Mendonsa wrote about student and teacher achievements since she started as principal July 1, 2014, and how Shutesbury has retained its educational excellence, even as the national educational landscape and environment has been changing.

“We have fought hard to keep the very special learning and culture intact at SES, while also stretching ourselves to meet the needs of our students and community and to try new and different ideas and approaches," Mendonsa wrote.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at