Principal hirings: Finn & Algonquin searches rebooted; seeking parent for Finn committee; Woodward pick in negotiations

This year, three principals for Southborough schools and our regional high school are retiring. Here’s an update on the searches to replace them.

The search getting the most attention is the Principal of Finn School. That search has been re-opened with a May 1st deadline for applications. And the school is seeking another parent to join the search committee.

That may be good news to some parents. A few weeks ago, many parents spoke out in dismay when they learned that Asst. Principal Clayton Ryan was being passed over for an outside candidate.

The decision to re-open the search for the Finn post followed a Meet the Finalists day held for both the Finn and Woodward principal candidates.

Last Friday, the week of spring break, retiring Principal James Randell sent out an email notifying parents of current Finn School students. Southborough Wicked Local reports:

On Tuesday night before the Annual Town Meeting, [Superintendent] Johnson said the decision to reopen the search for Finn School was made after hearing feedback from teachers, administrators and parents.

“I wouldn’t say any one event precipitated a second search,” she said.

Last night, Johnson updated the Regional School Comittee on the search to replace Algonquin’s retiring Principal Tom Mead. The search had been continued for a second round of applicants. That deadline has passed. The committee will be screening applications on May 1st, hoping to schedule interviews for May.

With the short time to Mead’s retirement, Johnson was asked if she had a “Plan B”. She quipped that they had a “plan through the entire alphabet” in discussions. That includes the possible appointment of an interim Principal to allow the search to continue into next year. If that happened, it would likely allow for a new hire to begin during the next school year.

As for Woodward School, that seems to be going more smoothly. Earlier in the month, Johnson told the School Committee that she would begin negotiations with the finalist, Steven Mucci. 

Mucci is Assistant Principal of Louise A. Conley Elementary School in Whitman. (You can read more about him in the initial announcement letter.)

Below is the notice that was emailed to Finn parents on April 21:

The search for the next Principal of the Mary E. Finn Elementary School has been reopened and applications are accepted through May 1, 2017. I thank the members of the Finn Search Committee for their commitment of time and expertise throughout the initial search as well as the faculty, staff and parents who participated in the open forums and/or site visit.

The Search Committee for the next Principal of the Mary E. Finn Elementary School will reconvene on May 3, 2017. This Committee is responsible for:

  • Creating and reviewing interview questions
  • Reading resumes of all applicants
  • Selecting candidates for interviews
  • Interviewing applicants
  • Recommending semi-finalist(s) to the Superintendent

The Search Committee consists of: (2) teachers; (2) parents, a school committee member, a non-instructional staff member, a central office administrator and a member of student support services. At this time we are seeking a second parent volunteer to serve on the Principal Search Committee. Search Committee members must be available to meet on Wednesday, May 3 from 3 PM – 5:30 PM, and Thursday, May 11 from 8 AM to 3 PM. Please send a letter of interest to the Office of the Superintendent, Attention Cheryl Lepore or via email to

The job posting for the Finn position lists:

Candidates must be licensed as an Elementary Principal in Massachusetts and have a minimum of a Master’s degree. Candidates must possess highly effective elementary school teaching and educational leadership experiences. A strong commitment to sustaining a professional collaborative educational model which supports student and community engagement is essential. Demonstrated practice in staff and curriculum development, instruction and student assessment and 21st century teaching and learning is required.

For more on the Finn search, read SWL’s full article.

(logos from Finn, ARHS, and Woodward school websites)

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Betsy Colby Davie
5 years ago

I appreciate the work that people have been putting in for the principal searches. Might there be a change to the process? It seems like there should be more than one finalist identified to avoid the problem of the only finalist not working out for any number of reasons.

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