The Duxbury School Committee elected new officers last week, installing John Heinstadt as chair and Mary Lou Buell as vice-chair.

In one of his last acts as leader of the school committee, Gary Magnuson nominated Heinstadt to be chair over vice-chair Anne Ward.

“I would like to nominate John because of his experience with the law and his experience on the building committee,” said Magnuson. Heinstadt is the school committee’s representative to the Duxbury School Building Committee which is responsible for overseeing construction of the co-located middle and high schools. School Committee member Maureen Connolly quickly seconded the motion, indicating there were divisions within the ranks.

“I would second that,” said Connolly, “and what I would like to do is have good will back on this committee, have fairness.” Committee member Mary Lou Buell, however, chose to nominate Ward.

“I think we should consider Anne,” said Buell, noting the school building project is a huge undertaking. “I think it’s worth having a discussion and thinking this through. It’s worth hashing it out.”

At one point in the back and forth while Buell was making her case that Ward should be chair, she said she knew Connolly was an adherent to tradition. Connolly then interrupted Buell and said, “I’m into good will.”

After the discussion, the committee voted 3 -2 in favor of electing Heinstadt to chair the school committee. Heinstadt then nominated Connolly to be vice-chair and Ward nominated Buell.

“With respect to Mary Lou,” said Heinstadt, “I think Maureen Connolly has been a faithful school committee member not just by attending to meetings, but to a number of different things that go unnoticed by members of the school committee. It’s time.”

Magnuson who had moved his seat to the side of the committee table to allow Heinstadt the chair’s seat said he was having difficulty choosing between the two candidates.

“Obviously Maureen has been involved in a lot of different things and a dedicated member of the School Committee for some time. I’m torn because Mary Lou represents a different perspective as a parent of young children…”

Buell, a teacher in the Weymouth Public Schools, then noted she has four children, one in each of Duxbury’s schools.

When it was Connolly’s turn to speak, she chose a different tack, noting she represents a larger percentage of Duxbury’s residents.

“As far as parents of school children, that’s obviously a small percentage of the community,” said Connolly. “I know a lot of elders. In the spirit of goodwill, let’s just rotate it through.”

In the end, the committee voted 3 – 2 to elect Buell vice-chair.

In other committee news:

They accepted the Duxbury Teachers’ Association Memorandum of agreement extending the teachers’ contract for one year instead of the usual three years to bridge the gap as the town and the union transition to interest-based bargaining (IBB). During IBB talks, a town and union decide during negotiations which issues to address, rather than either side coming to the table with a list of demands.

They congratulated the Duxbury High School (DHS) Girls’ Hockey team for winning the state championship.

They congratulated DHS senior Makai McClintock for placing first in the Senior Historical Paper Category at the Regional National History Day Competition held at Brockton High School last month.