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Higgins Housemaster Named New Carroll School Principal

Tracy Smith, a housemaster at the middle school, will be the new principal at the Carroll Elementary School.

A permanent hire is now in place to lead Peabody's largest elementary school -- Tracy Smith.

The 41-year-old educator and mother of three boys was revealed at Tuesday night's School Committee meeting as the new principal for the Thomas Carroll Elementary School. Smith has worked in Peabody for the past four years as a housemaster at Higgins Middle School.

Smith said principalship has long been a goal of hers and she can't envision a better place to begin that next phase of her career than at the Carroll School. There are 580 students enrolled in grades K-5 at the school this year.

"I cannot wait to become embedded in the community of Carroll School with the families of the children and teachers," she said. She later told reporters that her philosophy is simply putting the needs of children and individuals first.

Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola praised Smith as a top educator and a perfect fit for the job, noting her experience in both middle school and elementary school.

"Tracy's experience and knowledge of our school district and her organizational and management skillset is a perfect match for us," he said.

Mastrocola added that her approach to collaborating with colleagues and working with students and parents on positive instructional programs would be invaluable to the transition now at the school.

"Her passion for this city and this district is undeniable," he said, and added that he would personally be helping mentor Smith as she takes over as principal.

Smith worked for 10 years at an elementary school in Saugus in special education and fourth grade before coming to Peabody. She has degrees from Salem State University and Wheelock College.

Smith grew up in Beverly and graduated from Beverly High, but now lives in Peabody with her husband Matt and their children. Their sons attend the South School.

Cara Murtagh was the school's principal until her promotion to Assistant Superintendent last summer. Shortly thereafter, retired principal Paul Guerrette was hired as an interim and the search began for a permanent hire.

Nearly 40 candidates applied for the job, along with the post at the South School (which was eventually filled by Katelin Kennedy), and three finalists each were identified by screening committees.

Smith was in that initial roster of finalists, but just at the South School. Kennedy was hired for that job and the Carroll School position was advertised again with Mastrocola encouraging the other finalists to apply again.

Dena May 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM
Congrats Tracy - the Browne Family
Saber Walsh May 15, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Good luck, Tracy!
Sandi Drover May 15, 2013 at 01:04 PM
so happy for Ms. Smith and Carroll School! With her experience, she will be a great fit at our largest elementary school.
Observer May 15, 2013 at 01:11 PM
Further proof she was the more qualified candidate for the South in the first place. That's right it's Peabody- not what you know who you know........... The Carroll School is very fortunate. Good luck.
Kelly Porcaro May 15, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Congratulations Mrs. Smith, the Carroll is lucky to have you!
nancy May 15, 2013 at 02:49 PM
Congratulations ! She has been the housemaster for 2 of my daughters...I was looking forward to her continued presence as my 3rd daughter enters 6th grade in September...we will miss her but she is very deserving of this appointment ! The Carroll School is very lucky and will be in good hands ! Good luck Tracy !
NEIL PAPAMECHAIL May 15, 2013 at 05:28 PM
When did Ms. Smith start at the Higgins?
John Castelluccio (Editor) May 15, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Neil, I believe she is finishing up her fourth year at the Higgins.
Anne Manning-Martin May 16, 2013 at 09:28 AM
Congratulations to both the Carroll School and Tracy Smith! This seems like a great match!
Komy May 16, 2013 at 12:09 PM
Observer....don't be a poor sport. Obviously Kennedy was the better choice.
Komy May 16, 2013 at 12:11 PM
And how is that further proof? She was elected a principal not a superintendent. Same job as at South.

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