Kassandra Gove says her master's in higher ed administration has helped her lead Amesbury,
MA, during COVID-19
July 17, 2020 | Posted: May 18, 2020 | Page Ivey
Kassandra Gove, ’09 higher education administration, knows her educational background
doesn’t immediately say “elect me as your mayor.”
Yet, last year she was elected the fifth mayor of her hometown of Amesbury — population
17,000 — about 40 miles north of Boston on the coast of Massachusetts. She is the
first Amesbury native elected to the office, as well as the first woman and the youngest
“I have had an unusual career path,” says Gove, who came to the University of South
Carolina’s higher education master’s program with a bachelor’s degree in dance education
from Jacksonville University in Florida. “I had no interest in politics, no experience
in politics, no one in my family had been in politics.”
She got interested when she was working at the local chamber of commerce. She heard
from business owners and prospective businesses looking to relocate to the town how
difficult it was to get through red tape at City Hall. So she decided to run and now
she is at the helm of the former mill town during the worst public health crisis in
“We have some high numbers,” Gove says of the more than 150 COVID-19 cases reported
for her town, where many residents commute to Boston every day for work. “There’s
sort of a ripple effect from our urban areas.”
Among the city’s 500 employees, only one — a firefighter — has been diagnosed and
he was caught by a temperature screening before he went into a city building. “We
have some pretty rigorous screening protocols in place,” she says, adding that the
firefighter has fully recovered.
It has been interesting to see how quickly we modernized the delivery of services.
We’ve been able to do a lot of things online and remotely.
Kassandra Gove, '09 master's in higher ed administration and mayor of Amesbury, Massachusetts
Gove credits some of the things she learned at UofSC for helping her navigate the
waters of small-town politics, especially the “Trends in Higher Education” class taught
by Dennis Pruitt, vice president for student affairs and vice provost.
Read more here.