Algonquin principal being replaced – Friday deadline to apply to serve on search committee

by beth on March 18, 2020

Post image for Algonquin principal being replaced – Friday deadline to apply to serve on search committee

Above: Algonquin Principal Sara Walsh’s contract isn’t being renewed. The Algonquin community learned the news in late February through an email by Walsh thanking them for the opportunity. (photo from school website)

In late February, Algonquin student, staff and parents learned that Principal Sara Walsh’s contract isn’t being renewed for next year. The district is currently seeking a replacement and putting together a search committee to that end. No information has been provided by the administration for the reason behind the decision.

Walsh was hired in 2017 after former Principal Tom Mead announced his retirement. The administration held two rounds in that spring’s search before announcing that their finalist was the Principal of the magnet Springfield High School of Science and Technology.

The news that she wouldn’t be returning this fall came by way of a surprise email by Walsh to the Algonquin community. The district followed up with emails to the same audience. No communication went out to the lower schools (including parents of 8th graders who will be starting high school next year.)

The emails were sent hours prior to the February 26th Regional School Committee Meeting. Walsh attended the meeting and gave her monthly Principal’s report. (It was her typical upbeat update on accomplishments of Algonquin students, departments and teachers.) No mention or reference was made to her impending departure by her or anyone else at the public meeting. 

Here is her message to the Algonquin community:

Thank you for the opportunity

Dear Superintendent Martineau, Regional School Committee members, NASA, faculty and students,

As I have been informed that my contract will not be renewed for the next school year, although I will miss Algonquin, it is with great joy that I say thank you and wish everyone the best of luck and most amazing adventures. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to lead Algonquin as you principal these last three years. T-Hawk nation has been welcoming to my family and we have enjoyed being a part of this community.

The joy gained working with educators, students and community stakeholders, as well as the wealth of knowledge acquired, will be forever rewarding.

Sincerely,
Sara Walsh

Superintendent Gregory Martineau told me that he wasn’t “at liberty to comment on personnel matters.” But he noted that Walsh’s email was sent “on her own accord.” He shared the messages that he subsequently sent to ARHS students, parents, et al.

The first, sent the same day, briefly confirmed the news:

Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):

Dr. Walsh communicated to students, faculty, and staff this afternoon that she will not be returning as the Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS) Principal after the 2019-2020 academic year. I understand that this is a significant change for students, faculty, staff, and the community. This is not a change that I take lightly. I believe that the true strength of the ARHS community is its educators, families, and, most importantly, its students. I will share information about convening a principal search committee early next week.

Respectfully,

Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools

On March 10th, a message detailed the search committee plans. It will include parents, but only from the Algonquin Parent Teacher Organization (or associated with the school through another specified role). Algonquin students are also invited to participate.

Given the current situation with the coronavirus, the meeting dates below may be changing. But they could also just be switched to phone/video conferences. So I would still adhere to this Friday’s deadline for applying if you are interested in participating: 

Dear Parent(s) and Guardian(s):

The Northborough-Southborough Regional School District is seeking members to serve on a Principal Search Committee (PSC) to assist in the process of identifying the next principal to lead Algonquin Regional High School. The Search Committee 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
  • Maintaining confidentiality until the finalist(s) are announced

The timetable for the search has been determined. Members of this Committee should be available to meet from*:
March 24, 2020: Superintendent’s Conference Room, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Meeting of PSC to review the calendar and procedural guidelines, develop interview questions. Resumes will be shared electronically with the committee.
March 27, 2020: Superintendent’s Conference Room, 9:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Select candidates for interviews.
April 1 and 2, 2020: Superintendent’s Conference Room, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
PSC will interview candidates. The semi-finalists will be selected. (April 2, 2020 – 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Back-up date if needed)
*Applicants must be available to attend all of the meeting dates
The composition of the Search Committee is as follows:

  • One Department Chairperson
  • Two Teachers
  • Two ARHS Students
  • One Non-Instructional Staff Member
  • Two Parents from the APTO (one from Northborough and one from Southborough)
  • One Member of the Algonquin School Council
  • One Assistant Principal of Algonquin Regional High School
  • Two Central Leadership Team Members
  • Two School Committee Members (one from Northborough and one from Southborough)

Please submit your letter of interest to Cheryl Lepore, Executive Administrator, via email at clepore@nsboro.k12.ma.us no later than Tuesday, March 17, 2020. All interested applicants will receive confirmation if selected for the Search Committee by Friday, March 20, 2020.

Respectfully,

Gregory L. Martineau
Superintendent of Schools

The opening for Algonquin’s new principal was posted to the employment opportunities section of the district’s website on February 28th. The deadline for applications is “Posted Until Filled”.

I checked in with Walsh to see if she had anything else that she wanted to share. She responded:

I feel that my email truly sums up my sadness and joy about the situation. I have absolutely loved my time here, with the most amazing faculty and students apart of T-Hawk nation. I have had the opportunity to build my leadership team and I have the utmost respect and faith in them as they carry our work and vision forward.

Although, it is disappointing that the district has decided to go in a different direction, I wish Superintendent Martineau the best of luck in his future endeavors.

I am sorry for my brevity, but at this time and with our current challenges, all of my focus remains on the health, well-being and academic growth of our children, families and faculty.

The Regional School Committee is meeting tonight. But the topic isn’t on the agenda. (Some of the agenda categories are generic enough to allow some discussion of the situation – Superintendent’s Report, Principal’s Report, Personnel Report. But those topics were also on the February 26th agenda.)

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