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Stoughton High Principal Search Heats Up

School officials have narrowed an applicant pool of around 40 to six and will be conducting interviews with these six SHS principal candidates this week.

By the third week of March, officials will have a “very good idea of who the next high school principal will be,” Deputy Superintendent of Schools said at a February 28 School Committee meeting.

With principal Wayne Hester retiring at end of this school year and principal Matthew Colantonio becoming principal at the OMS next school year, .

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said the school department received about 40 applications for SHS principal. The 40 applicants were narrowed down to a field of seven candidates. Six accepted and expressed interest in remaining in contention for the principal position.

These six candidates will be interviewed on March 7 and 8, Ford said.

From there, the field will be narrowed again, this time to three finalists. School officials will conduct site visits at each finalist’s school.

After the site visits have been conducted, one or two of the finalists will go through a final interview process, before a new principal is named.

Prior to accepting applications, school officials conducted separate focus groups with parents, students and SHS faculty to discuss what each group wanted to see in the next SHS principal.

At one of the parent focus groups Dr. Rizzi indicated school officials were looking for a candidate with experience as a principal, rather than someone looking for their first principal job.

The parent focus group expressed admiration for Colantonio, and hoped that the next SHS principal would also be approachable, visible and someone who is willing to forge a relationship with parents and students and listen to what they have to say. Parents wanted the next principal be a strong, hands-on leader.

Stability was also key for the parent focus group. Next year’s seniors, the Class of 2013, will have had three principals in four years—Brett Dickens, Colantonio, and the new principal.  

Dr. Rizzi agreed and said Ford and she would be looking at the work history of the candidates and would look “to find the right person who is willing to stay.”

At the 2/28 School Committee meeting, Ford told the Committee that there is a “rock-solid cross section of candidates.”

“Having too many qualified people to choose from is a good problem,” Dr. Rizzi said.

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