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GROTON — The School Committee unanimously voted to appoint Laura Chesson as the new superintendent of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District Thursday night.

Committee members presented the choice between Chesson, who is the assistant superintendent of Arlington Public Schools, and finalist Jodi Fortuna, the superintendent of Hudson Public Schools, as picking a candidate who excels in defeating challenges or one who brings inspiration.

Committeeman Peter Cronin said that Fortuna is a visionary and made him feel inspired during the interview process, while people who work with Chesson consistently said the same thing: “At the end of the day, she gets things done.”

Previous Superintendent Kristan Rodriguez announced her resignation last July and Bill Ryan has served as the interim superintendent since early January.

At Thursday’s meeting inside the Groton-Dunstable Regional High School library, board members conducted a final round of interviews with the two finalists before they discussed their preferences and voted. They had three main criteria to consider:

*The finance, operations and facilities management;

*Preservation of the school district’s “existing culture of continuous improvement”; and

* Communication and collaboration within the district and the wider communities.

Both candidates left before the vote took place and Chesson was selected as the new superintendent of schools.

After spending the first decade of her career in the private sector, Chesson taught eighth-grade English, math and science in New Mexico.

After that, she taught in Hudson and Boston, adding music and writing to her list of subjects. She later became an assistant principal at Leominster High School and principal of Maynard High school before taking her current job in Arlington.

Leaving the classroom wasn’t an easy decision for Chesson, “It was almost like cutting off one of your arms,” she said. Chesson said every so often she likes to spend time in a kindergarten classroom to reconnect.

The hardest decisions she’s ever had to make are those that impact students.

“You can really harm kids if you make the wrong decision,” she said.

One notable decision was suspending a group of Maynard football players who showed up intoxicated to a Homecoming event in 2010, even though it meant they would have to cancel the big Thanksgiving game with Clinton because they wouldn’t have enough players.

She said it was one of the hardest decisions of her life and she stands by her choice. Chesson said she didn’t want to risk having those students harm themselves with further risky behavior.

All School Committee members said that the two finalists were both strong candidates, but felt that Chesson had an edge.

Marlena Gilbert said she consistently heard from people who work with Chesson that she is “the glue that holds the district together.”

Angela Donahue said she felt Chesson would have an edge over Fortuna in the finance, operations and facilities management aspect of the job.

Jennifer McKenzie said that Chesson was “clear and easy to understand” when she communicated with the School Committee.

Stephanie Cronin said that Chesson is efficient and dedicated to completing the tasks before her.

Chairman Jeff Kubick said an important moment in the process for him was when asked about building the budget, Fortuna said she starts with the per-student number, while Chesson said starts with what the community finds important in the district and works to preserve those things, such as small classroom sizes.

Peter Cronin added that Chesson has been able to keep different groups in the community satisfied while making decisions, a skill that will be needed to keep a balance in the communities that make up the district.

The committee will next enter into negotiations with Chesson for the position before a start date is determined.

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