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Stonington High School principal to resign

Stonington — High School Principal Mark Friese has informed the school system he plans to resign July 1. 

In his short resignation letter, Friese wrote, "The memories and relationships I have developed in this town will be carried with me as I transition into my next chapter."

Friese, who has worked in the school system for 20 years, did not respond to a request for comment about his resignation.

Prior to his career in public education, Friese served as senior chief, sonar technician and acoustic intelligence specialist in the U.S. Navy. He retired from that position in 2002.

He then worked as a high school and middle school math teacher as well as a science, technology, engineering and math coordinator and the assistant principal at the high school. In 2014, he was selected as the high school's new principal, replacing Stephen Murphy, who retired after 19 years.    

The Board of Education, which has begun the process of hiring a new superintendent to replace Van Riley, who is retiring, also now will begin looking for Friese's replacement.

At Thursday night's school board meeting, Riley presented a timeline for hiring a new principal. This month he will meet with staff, parents and students to discuss the selection criteria and process. The vacancy then will be posted on Jan. 31, with an application deadline of Feb. 11.

Applications then will be screened and references checked, with the first round of interviews done by a committee on Feb. 22 and 23. The finalists will be interviewed Feb 28 and March 1, with the announcement of the new principal by March 4. Riley will select the new principal and the board will approve the hiring at its March 10 meeting, with the new principal being welcomed that night.

The new principal is expected to begin work July 1.

Riley told the school board Thursday night the district always begins such searches early in the year in order to attract the best candidates.

Because the plan is to hire both the new principal and superintendent about the same time in March, several board members said Riley's successor should have a role in helping him choose the new principal. Riley said he would be willing to consult with the new superintendent but opposed having his replacement choose the new principal because that person would not have been involved in the search process. 

The final decision, however, will be Riley's because he does not retire until July 1.


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