Principal search committees seek parent volunteers; Algonquin Principal also retiring

by beth on February 1, 2017

Post image for Principal search committees seek parent volunteers; Algonquin Principal also retiring

Right: Principal Tom Mead from his first year in charge of ARHS. Seven years later, he’s announcing his retirement (photo courtesy of Northboro News, 2009)

Yesterday, Southborough parents learned that they can apply to weigh in on the hiring of three principals. It came with news that that Algonquin Regional High School’s Tom Mead is retiring in June.

Earlier this month, Principal James Randell announced he would be retiring in June. Afterwards, I shared news that the Finn and Woodward principal would be replaced by two principals.

Superintendent Christine Johnson clarified yesterday that she isn’t increasing the number of administrative positions. She informed me that the Assistant Principal position for K-3 will be eliminated.

Emails from Johnson to parents today outlined the Search Committee process for selecting the three principals. It outlines the requirements for committee members and how parents can apply to participate.

Interested parents need to apply by a week from today, February 8th. 

Two Southborough committees will seek principals, one for Finn School (PreK-1) and one for Woodward (2-3). Those committees will include two parents of students.

The Algonquin search committee is seeking one Southborough parent from the APTO (Algonquin Parent Teacher Organization).

Each committee will help form interview questions, screen candidates, and recommend semi-finalists to the superintendent. To be eligible:

Members of each committee must be available to meet from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on February 16, February 27 and March 1, 2017. Interviews are scheduled for Monday, March 6 and, Wednesday, March 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you are unable to meet during these times, please do not consider applying for one of the positions on this Search Committee.

To apply:

Please submit your letter of interest to Cheryl Lepore, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, via email at no later than Wednesday, February 8, 2017. All interested committee applicants will receive confirmation if selected for the Search Committee by Friday, February 10, 2017.

Your application should indicate which school’s principal you are seeking to help hire.

The letters from Johnson to parents were quite similar. [Editor’s Note, I eliminated below the passages already quoted above.]

To Southborough K-3 parents, Johnson wrote:

After twelve years of outstanding educational leadership as Principal of Southborough elementary schools, James Randell, has announced his retirement as of June 30, 2017. On behalf of the Southborough Public Schools, I extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to Principal Randell for his commitment to our students and school community.

A Search Committee for the next Principal of the Mary E. Finn Elementary School and Principal of the Albert S. Woodward Memorial Elementary School will be responsible for the following:

  • Creating and reviewing interview questions
  • Reading resumes of all applicants
  • Selecting candidates for interviews
  • Interviewing applicants
  • Recommending semi-finalists to the Superintendent . . .

The composition of this committee is as follows:

  • Two Teachers
  • Two Parents
  • A School Committee Member
  • A Non-Instructional Staff Member
  • A Central Office Administrator
  • A Student Support Services Director

Algonquin parents’ letter contained two main differences.

The introduction obviously focused on Mead’s retirement:

After eight years of outstanding educational leadership as Principal of Algonquin Regional High School, Thomas Mead, has announced his retirement as of June 30, 2017. On behalf of the Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee, administration, and Algonquin staff, I extend our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to Principal Mead for his tireless dedication and commitment to all students and to our school community. His excellence lies in his advocacy for all children and his belief that a student’s potential is without limitation.

And the letter outlined a different composition for Algonquin’s Search Committee:

  • Two Department Chairpersons
  • Two Teachers
  • Two Students (Class of 2017)
  • A Non-Instructional Staff Member
  • Two Parents from the APTO (one from Northborough and one from Southborough)
  • One Member of the Algonquin School Council
  • An Assistant Principal of Algonquin Regional High School
  • A Central Office Administrator
  • Two School Committee Members (one from Northborough and one from Southborough)
1 Proud Cat Hat Wearer February 1, 2017 at 1:07 PM

I think a full time principal at both Finn and Woodward is a good idea, but I do hope that the “same school, different building” feel will persist. Change can be hard, particularly for young kids, and as a new parent I was worried about my kids switching schools so often with the Southborough schools as they are. However, several years in and a few transitions down, I have nothing but good things to say about it. All of the K-3 teams have done an *outstanding* job at helping the little ones make a transition to a new school and at providing continuity!

2 Frank Crowell February 1, 2017 at 4:08 PM

K-3 Search Committee – I count six rubber stamps with two parents. Or looked at another way five potentilal non-residents out of eight picking two new principles.

When did Southborough resisdents lose control of education system? When we went to the current school configuration? When the majority assumed the house values matter more than how things are run?

3 Mike Fuce February 3, 2017 at 9:08 AM

I wrote to Christine Johnson and voiced my complaint and concern and to reconsider adding more parent positions. There are not positions for parents who are not part of the school culture and on various committees. There are two non committee parents however for the Mr. Randall position. Even if you are not interested please take the time to send an email to and to ask that they add at least two parents from each town. They will say there is representation by these: Two Parents from the APTO (one from Northborough and one from Southborough) and One Member of the Algonquin School Council, however these are quasi school officials and can be biased. Just recommending that the people have a strong voice in the decisions. Mead and Randall have been very good and we want to keep that tradition alive.

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