Superintendent Profile: John Oteri

Following the retirement of Superintendent Dr. David DeRuosi, and Dr. Charles Grandson's stay as Interim Superintendent, the city of Malden’s school committee selected John Oteri for the new Superintendent of Malden Public Schools.  

A Malden High alum himself, Oteri expressed great happiness to be back in the city. During the election, he was also a candidate to be the Superintendent of Peabody. When asked about the major decision, Oteri explained how “[he felt] it was [his] duty to come back to Malden and give back to the community”.

Oteri’s overwhelming passion for improving the quality of education for the students of Malden is his goal. He made it clear that Oteri wants MPS teachers to be educators rather than teachers. Referencing a video of a speech made by Comedian, Michael Jr. where he explains how knowing the “why” can broaden the “possibilities of what your ‘what’ can be”, Oteri voiced that educators will help students know their “why”. With much glorification, he claimed “Malden has an excellent school system” and that he wants “Malden Public schools to be the best option for parents to send their children”.

School committee interviewing one of the final candidates for for Superintendent, Somerville High School’s Headmaster John Oteri. Photo by Rebeca Pereira (Blue and Gold archives 2016-2017).

Throughout the interview with Oteri, he was very sentimental when expressing the importance of the well-being of all students within the city, When he was a social worker he helped many families and children. In addition, his passion for helping and caring for the Malden student body stems from him “[seeing] a lot of bad” when he was a social worker.

Going further back, Oteri spoke about how “[he] did not grow up with money”. Essentially, he worked his way up by his own grit, which makes him able to understand some of the stress of having to work a bit harder than others because of his family’s financial status.

On top of his years as a social worker, he was also a history teacher, and principal for Somerville High School. Now, as superintendent, Oteri has worked his way diligently up the ranks in the school system. Correspondingly, his knowledge from holding different level positions has helped him connect with the faculty of Malden Public Schools as well.

Being that Malden High School is the most diverse high school in Massachusetts. John Oteri feels that “the diversity [of] Malden High School [has] put the students at a great advantage”.

One of the history teachers at Malden High School, Ellsworth Fersch seconded the superintendents claim as well, by saying “[it is] incredibly valuable to have people of different backgrounds and beliefs in the same classes and hallways as [each other]”. Fersch added that “[he] thinks the students here are much more open minded and worldly” compared to students who do not come from a school as diverse as Malden High School”.

Overall, Oteri is looking forward to his new position and being a part of Malden Public Schools.

Sidney Rodriguez

Senior, Sidney Rodriguez was born in Boston, with family from Georgia. As this is her first year in Blue and Gold but last year at Malden High, she is looking forward to experiencing the journalism process because she has never experienced the work put into making the newspaper before. She enjoys going out to different restaurants that she’s never been to, as well as watching and participating performing arts such as dance. Due to her love of dance she has done the school’s annual Dancing with the Teachers every year since entering high school and is looking forward to doing it again this year. When she’s not dancing, she likes watching Queen of the South, and the Harry Potter series, as well as listening to Lauryn Hill who she appreciates for her deep lyrics. She describes herself as outgoing, easygoing and likes being around people. She’s most proud of her accomplishments in the Junior Varieties Show because she had to balance multiple classes on top of hours of practice.

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