Article updated at 2 p.m. on August 17:
With less than three weeks to go before the start of the 2012-2013 school year in Stoughton, the vacancy for the has now been filled.
School Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi announced the hiring of the new principal Friday morning. Margaret Morgan, former principal of the Chocksett Middle School in Sterling, MA, will now lead the K-5 students and faculty at the West.
Morgan is the recipient of the 2012 Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) Edmund K. Fanning Middle School Principal of the Year Award for the 2011-2012 school year.
She replaces former West School principal , who had been principal at the West since 2008. With Dearborn leaving to become principal at the Boyden Elementary School in Walpole, there was a vacancy at the top post at the West.
Dearborn announced he was taking a position in another district in a letter sent to parents on July 20.
Usually the search for a new principal would be conducted in the spring, Dr. Rizzi said. Thus, there could be concern that the cream of the crop would not be available past the typical February to May hiring window, but the Superintendent said because of unforeseen circumstances there are attractive candidates available in the summer months as well.
And due to steep financial issues in Morgan's former school district, she became available at the time Stoughton was looking for a principal.
The Wachusett Regional School Committee was forced to make more than $1 million in cuts just a few weeks before the start of its school year, including the elimination of Morgan's position at Chocksett Middle School, according to an August 7 article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Dr. Rizzi said Stoughton is getting a "very professional" and "experienced" educator. While Morgan's most recent job was at a middle school, Dr. Rizzi said she feels Morgan will be a good fit at the West.
"Her experience will be an asset there," she said.
Dr. Rizzi said Morgan will work well with the other four elementary school principals in town.
Also joining Morgan at the West is a specialist in data and behavior, Linda Feeney, which will give Morgan an additional level of support and help to boost achievement at the school, Dr. Rizzi said. This position is funded by Title I grant money. Feeney would have been joining the West School staff even if Dearborn returned this school year, Dr. Rizzi said.
Dr. Rizzi said Dearborn left the school in good shape in terms of preparation for the upcoming school year. Dr. Rizzi said the experienced Morgan "knows what needs to be done" to get ready for the start of school.
The first day of the 2012-2013 school year in Stoughton for students in grades 1-12 is Wednesday, September 5, 2012 (after Labor Day). Teachers (Unit A) and nurses report the day before, September 4. Kindergarten starts September 7.