There weren't many people in Fairhaven that expected that the school board would name a new superintendent of schools last night, but eight days after Dr. Robert Baldwin offered his resignation, that is exactly what it did.

Discussing the search process for a replacement was on the school board's agenda last night. After going into executive session to discuss the process, the Fairhaven School Board came out to conduct a vote on naming Tara Kohler as the replacement for the departing Dr. Baldwin. The vote passed, and Kohler was named the district's new superintendent.

"It was amazing and humbling," Kohler said. "I was kind of shocked and stunned."

She was prepared to open the schools and begin the school year with interim status as she worked her way through the process.

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The board acknowledged how normally, in different districts, a situation like this would call for a search to fill the vacant position. The sentiment, however, was "Why would a search be done, when the right person is right here?"

Much of the board has seen Kohler's work in Fairhaven over the past 13 years.

"I love Fairhaven," Kohler said. "I had worked in New Bedford and had thought I was going to retire from there, but an opportunity led me here, and I feel like I've put my blood, sweat and tears into the high school and then the district."

What is the No. 1 thing on her list to do as Fairhaven's newest education leader?

"Coming off of COVID, for me, it's about relationships and getting to see people again," she said. "Trying to be more present, because last year was so distant."

Kohler said she can't wait for her first faculty meeting and the positive energy of the first day of school.

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