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Kennedy Named New Principal at South School

The promotion was initially just temporary, but Superintendent Joe Mastrocola informed the School Committee it was now permanent Tuesday night.

Katelin Kennedy has landed the top job at the South School.

The newly minted administrator has only been teaching for nine years -- all of it at the Peabody elementary school -- but in that time she has become a highly regarded educator by her peers and school officials.

Superintendent Joe Mastrocola informed the School Committee Tuesday night he had chosen Kennedy for the job, wrapping up 2 1/2-month process to find a replacement for Maryellen McGrath, who retired in January.

"I am proud to appoint Katelin Kennedy," Mastrocola said. "She brings a wealth of knowledge, a work ethic that’s unparalleled, the respect and admiration [of the] staff and most important, a student-centered approach."

Kennedy arrived at the South School as a special education teacher and has spent the past three years with the added duties of Assistant Principal. She was named Interim Principal as of Feb. 1 until a permanent hire could be made.

Kennedy attended Tuesday night's meeting and offered brief remarks.

"I’m very excited for this opportunity. The South School has been the most awesome place to work for the last nine years," she said, adding that she's had nothing but "great experiences" in that time with equally "amazing" students and colleagues.

A screening committee selected Kennedy and two others as finalists from among a pool of 39 candidates for the job. Mastrocola then interviewed each candidate with Assistant Superintendent Cara Murtagh two weeks ago.

Kennedy, a Lynnfield native and current resident of North Andover, has her bachelor's degree from Westfield State, a master's from Salem State and a certificate of graduate study in school administration from the American International College.

She's also served on the Executive Board for the Peabody Education Foundation.

Mastrocola also informed the School Committee that he is restarting the hunt for a new principal at the Carroll School.

He said he and Murtagh likewise interviewed the three finalists for that position two weeks ago, and just felt none of them were the right person for the job, although he did speak favorably of all three finalists.

"After an extensive interview of the three candidates, we felt that we did not have the best choice at this time," he said. "The Carroll is a very unique school that has a great foundation for the future...I want to open up the search again to find the right candidate."

He said the opening will be re-advertised and even encourages all the remaining finalists from both searches to apply again.

The three finalists were . The other two finalists at the South School were Matthew Fusco and Tracy Smith.

In the meantime, Paul Guerrette will continue in his role as Interim Principal of the Carroll School. The job initially opened up after Murtagh was promoted to the central office this summer. Guerrette was then hired in August.

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