Privacy Breach During School Committee Meeting Could Explain Delay in Greer Contract Talks


When the Cambridge School Committee met for a private executive session on April 1 to discuss whether to extend embattled Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Victoria L. Greer’s contract, attendance was supposed to be strictly limited to School Committee members and staff.

Except it wasn’t.

According to a person familiar with the situation, one parent was present for at least the first hour of the virtual executive session, one of two back-to-back closed-door sessions where the committee discussed Greer’s contract.

The second meeting resulted in an offer for Greer to resign, The Crimson reported on April 4.


The breach of secrecy could explain why the Committee went silent for three weeks, despite an indication that Greer and the School Committee were nearing a contract agreement. Committee members went back into executive session Tuesday to discuss contract negotiations for “nonunion personnel.”

The parent joined the meeting during its open session, and stayed on when the meeting went into executive session under the impression that the meeting was still open to the public. The parent remained on until Committee members noticed his presence.

According to Massachusetts’ Open Meeting Law, executive sessions begin in open session, before members vote to enter the closed session. The CPS website contains a link to join meetings via livestream.

The parent then told other parents his account of the discussions regarding Greer’s contract.

CPS spokesperson Sujata Wycoff, School Committee secretaries Ariel Kennebrew and Katherine Christo, and Mayor E. Denise Simmons did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

At the public School Committee meeting on April 2, members unanimously voted to postpone Greer’s midpoint evaluation indefinitely and without explanation.

The midpoint evaluation, which Greer was expected to present as a progress update since she was given a “needs improvement” rating by the School Committee last July, had already been postponed once.

The executive session came as Greer has come under fire from parents, especially over her hiring practices and the district’s lackluster climate survey results.

In Greer’s annual evaluation, members expressed concern over “the content and volume” of complaints from parents regarding principal hiring processes at Fletcher Maynard Academy and the Morse School.

At the March 19 meeting, more than two dozen parents delivered public comments criticizing Greer’s hiring process at Graham & Parks, just one instance of parent discontent with Greer’s performance.

Beginning in December, Graham & Parks Elementary School has likewise been immersed in conflict surrounding principal Kathleen M. Smith, who allegedly fostered a toxic workplace at her previous school.

Over the past few months, parents have advocated for district change and eventually called for “immediate action” to fire Smith in an open letter. On March 31, the deadline to notify Smith of any contract changes, Greer let Smith’s contract automatically extend for an additional year.

Graham & Parks is currently being investigated by a third-party law firm after parents accused Smith of fostering a toxic workplace environment.

CPS also received low results on its 2023-24 climate survey for staff and parents, with statistics falling below nationwide medians for several benchmarks.

The committee has until June 30 to notify Greer of any changes to her contract. If they do not act, Greer’s contract will automatically extend for an additional year.

—Staff writer Darcy G Lin can be reached at

—Staff writer Emily T. Schwartz can be reached at