In Westbrook, Principal Search Begins

WESTBROOK - With the last day of work for high school Principal Bob Hale and Daisy Elementary School Principal Kit Bishop just four months away, the search for their replacements began in earnest last week.

Last week, Superintendent of Schools Pat Ciccone had finalized the two job descriptions and was ready to post the openings on a dedicated state website. Potential candidates for the positions will have about three weeks to submit their qualifications packages to the Westbrook school district for consideration.

Connecticut REAP (www.ctreap.net) is a free service designed to help educators learn about openings for teachers and administrators in the state. School districts can post job openings on this website to facilitate a match between a potential candidate and districts that have open positions.

"Our goal is to begin interviewing candidates in April and hire no later than the end of May," said Ciccone.

She said she is confident that the district will be able to attract strong principal candidates.

If the search process stays on track, the school district would like the successful finalists to start in the district by July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

All interested educators are required to send to the school district a package that includes their qualifications, a letter of interest, a résumé, proof he or she holds the proper certifications, educational transcripts, letters of reference, and a one-page essay that outlines his or her educational philosophy.

As candidate packages are received at the district offices, a group of screeners will examine and assess the submissions.

Ciccone said the candidate screening group will include three Board of Education members and representatives of school staff and administration.

Once a short list of promising candidates is set, two search committees will be formed, one for each principal slot.

The search committees will then conduct interviews with candidates and make a recommendation on which one to hire. Sitting on each search committee will be Board of Education members, school administrators, parents, and, for the high school principal position, students.

But before those interviews begin, Ciccone wants to provide opportunities for stakeholders in the school community to provide input about the character, qualities, and management style of the district's two future principals.

Towards this end, she will hold focus group meetings in March and early April with representatives of school stakeholder groups.

"The focus group meeting dates will be posted on the schools' website and in messages sent home," said Ciccone.

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