Peabody Schools Superintendent Joe Mastrocola says the current pool of candidates for the high school principal job just confirms that it was the right decision last summer to keep Ed Sapienza on for one more year.
Sapienza had retired in June, but then agreed to stay on for another year in an interim capacity, as a full-fledged effort was launched to find a permanent hire.
Mastrocola declined to comment on the candidates thus far (the application deadline closed on Friday), other than to say the pool was competitive and contained qualified people for the job.
He informed the School Committee Tuesday night that 13 people had applied and a screening committee, which also included five high school students, would narrow down that list and interview five candidates over the next two weeks.
He said that within 3-5 weeks, the group should be sending him its final recommendations. Mastrocola hopes to have a finalist for the job by early March and a start date of July 1 at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School.
While 13 may seem like a discouraging number, Mastrocola noted that other North Shore high schools are also conducting searches for principals. Marblehead and Manchester-Essex are both hiring.
A focus group was held for parents last month to discuss what they'd like in a new principal -- the PVMHS PTSO also met to discuss those issues -- and the screening committee just convened on Monday.
Mastrocola is also tasked with hiring two new elementary school principals as well at the Carroll and South schools.
An interim hire was made last summer at the Carroll to fill the vacancy created when Cara Murtagh was tapped for Assistant Superintendent and Maryellen McGrath is actually retiring from the South at the end of January.
Mastrocola says screening committees are wading through 38 and 39 applicants, respectively, for those jobs to determine who to call in for interviews. He said he's planning to hire for those jobs July 1 as well.