WEST NEWBURY — Jack O’Mara, head of the Dr. John C. Page Elementary School for the past three years, announced this week he plans to retire as principal at the end of the year.
In a recent interview, O’Mara described the ongoing $10 million renovation project at Page as his “swan song” and said seeing the job through to its fruition was the reason he didn’t just retire this past June but instead decided to wait until December. The project is slated for completion later this fall.
O’Mara, who has been on the Page Building Committee from the project’s inception, said he felt “pretty passionate about being a part of that final ribbon-cutting ceremony and watching the faces of the children as they see their beautiful new gym and cafetorium.”
But O’Mara’s decision to step down in the middle of the school year has prompted Pentucket Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen to hold off on hiring a replacement until next year. Instead, he will tap Middle School Principal Debra Lay to run the West Newbury elementary school on an interim basis, from January to June 2014.
“It is essential that the district’s initiatives, particularly educator evaluation, are implemented seamlessly,” said Mulqueen. “Dr. Lay will provide the support needed to ensure continuity at Page School as we transition to a new system of educator evaluation and a new school leader.”
And the superintendent has asked high school Principal Jonathan Seymour to expand his range of responsibilities to include the middle school.
“I am confident in the ability of Mr. Seymour and the high school and middle school administrative teams to support the needs of students, parents and our staff members at the middle and high schools,” Mulqueen said.
The search for someone to take over the helm at Page begins later this winter, with the goal of having the new principal in place before July 1, 2014.