If the first 30 years of CAPS Collabraotive can be defined as building a culture and tradition, the 4th decade of its existence can be best described as innovation and expansion. After Robert Foley stepped down due to medical issues until his untimely passing, long time Jr.Sr. High/Gateway Coordinator, Peter Gagnon, stepped in as interim Director until the end of the school year in 2007. After a brief search, Dr. Edward McCaul was hired as the 5th Executive Director of CAPS Collaborative later that summer. Dr. McCaul came from an educational background being a former teacher and Special Education Director, making the advancement of programming his primary focus. During his tenure, Dr. McCaul’s goal was to bring the Collaborative into the 21st century, using innovation and adaptation to move CAPS from its old ways into the ever changing educational environment of today.
While School Street was home for 30 years, the needs of the programs and the opportunity for growth warranted a time for change. Dr. McCaul worked to expand the outreach of our Satellite Programs by first, starting the Senators program in Ralph C. Mahar. Later, he coordinated the continued expansion of the newly named Kelly Day School (formerly Rainbow) out of School Street into two locations. Four classrooms now reside between Hubbardston Center School and Oakmont Regional High School. The DHHP classrooms struggled with enrollment and bounced around a few districts before a new Pre-School class in Leominster revived the program. It currently has 3 classrooms in Meetinghouse School in Westminster and also Murdock Middle/High School. The Horizons program was expanded into an elementary and Jr/Sr high class where both are now held in Winchendon. This left only the Gateway School remaining at School Street by the end of 2012.
Over Dr. McCaul’s 8 years with CAPS, he saw the retirement of two long tenured Program Coordinators in Peter Gagnon & Barbara White, a full Board of Directors turnover due to DESE legislation reform in 2011-2012, two new member districts to CAPS in Jaffrey-Rindge (non-voting member) and Leominster Public Schools, the move of Kelly Day School and the expansion of the Satellite programs into 6 different public school settings, as well as the beginning of a full technology overhaul of the entire organization. Dr. McCaul’s final year at the Collaborative was a true transition year more than any other. At the end of the 2014 school year, CAPS secured a new home at Sonoma Square on 2 Narrows Road in Westminster, MA. Finally, after 34 years, CAPS would move out of School Street one last time in August 2014. Dr. McCaul retired after one year in the new building on July 31, 2015 and handed the reins to a new Executive Director, Cindy Landanno. With the Gateway School and Administrative Offices now residing in full force off the Rt 2 East Ramp in Westminster and a new Director at the helm, it’s sparked another exciting period of reorganization and new opportunities for CAPS Collaborative.
By my second day as Director, I became aware that CAPS was more remarkable than I had ever realized and that I was working for a very special organization with dedicated individuals giving 110 percent to making the lives of students as productive and fulfilled as possible. “
-Dr. Ed McCaul, 2015, exert from letter of resignation to the Board of Directors