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Interim Principal to Lead High School, New Superintendent Will Make Permanent Pick

Acting Superintendent Peter Gray announced Thursday that an interim principal will lead Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School for the coming year and a new search will launch for a permanent replacement.

A new school superintendent should decide on the next principal at , Acting Superintendent Peter Gray said on Thursday.

That is what led to , who meeting with students, teachers, staff and parents at the school.

were Philip Conrad, a former associate and assistant principal at the Regional who is now principal at Rockport Middle/High School and Richard Manley, a teacher and former principal at Windham High School in New Hampshire.

Instead, of choosing either Conrad or Manley to fill the position permanently, an interim principal will be selected for the upcoming year, Gray said. Advertisements for the position will be placed in the Boston Globe during the next few weeks, Gray said.

Outgoing Principal Matt Fox will take over this summer as principal at in Marblehead. Fox had served as principal at both the high school and at , but the search was for just a high school principal. A separate search is underway to fill the middle school principal position separately.

The decision to choose neither of the two finalists came after much ”thought and consideration,” Gray said in a press release issued on Thursday. The complete text of the press release is attached to this story as a PDF.

Gray, the assistant superintendent for finance, was named acting superintendent on June 1 after that resulted in his departure. The exact details of the agreement and what lead to it are largely unknown, but the contents of the agreement and the minutes of the meeting where the agreement was reached are expected to be released when the School Committee meets tonight.

Gray said that he wanted a permanent superintendent to take part in the decision and that rushing to a decision lacked foresight.

"I know it would have been easier to name a new (high school) principal and remove one more issue from our plate, but I'm also aware of the importance of hiring the right person."  Gray said in the one page press release. "My decision is a reflection of what I feel is right for the Hamilton and Wenham communities."

The interim principal will be selected with the help of a new search committee. Gray did not detail the makeup of the new search committee in the press release.

They should find a qualified pool of potential candidates for interim principal, Gray said.

“I'm confident we'll find someone who can fill the position of interim principal for the next school year while we conduct a more complete and extensive search for a permanent leader," he said.  

Community members interested in serving on the search committee should submit a letter of intent to the Superintendent of Schools, 5 School St., Wenham, MA  01984 no later than June 17.  E-mails will not be accepted

JB June 10, 2011 at 12:28 PM
An interim superintendent, chooses to go with an interim HS principal. Where will the leadership for our schools come from in 2011-2012? If the interim superintendent is unwilling to hire a HS principal what other decisions will go unmade?
Elaine Appel June 10, 2011 at 10:37 PM
I remain convinced that strong, objective and level-headed leadership from our 2010/2011 elected school committee would have ensured a workable, if flawed, relationship to exist with their superintendant, and this snowballing leadership void may have been averted. Losing sight of your mission, the "big picture", is very easy for a committee to do and as both a share holder and a consumer of the product of their efforts, I am looking forward to the fresh start the new composition of the board will bring in the coming months.
scott palmer June 13, 2011 at 03:06 PM
I am in disbelief when I read the constant stupidity of my town in papers of while watching the Selectman on the TV. When can the school committee begin to act like intelligent group? Perhaps it will be when the remainder of the group is replaced, much like what seems to have happened with the Selectman. Until we get people out of town government like chairwomen of the BoS Jennifer Scuteri - another person who will destroy voter trust as she is already known by town workers as a lier and a pompous fool, much like her ex-Board counterpart Bill Bowler. As for the schools, there is hope with new faces like Mr. Derry coming aboard this year but there is still allot of work to be done. Voters must show there displeasure with the likes of the Scuteri's and others when it is time to boot them from the positions they hold, just like we did to Bowler this past month!

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