BY JENNIFER SOLIS
---- — WEST NEWBURY — The Dr. John C. Page Elementary School has a new leader.
Jeff Mulqueen, superintendent of the Pentucket Regional School District, has tapped Dustin Gray of Dover, N.H., to assume the principal’s post, effective July 1. Gray fills the spot left vacant by Jack O’Mara, who retired in December.
According to a press release issued by Mulqueen on Monday, a selection committee comprised of parents, educators, community representatives and Pentucket administration interviewed Gray, who was one of two finalists out of an initial pool of 49 applicants.
Subsequently, Gray and the other finalist, Christopher Snyder, met with parents and teachers at Page School on Jan. 24. Snyder currently works as assistant principal and curriculum coordinator at Atkinson Academy in New Hampshire.
The superintendent said he decided to hire Gray “after considering responses during the intensive interview, feedback from parents and educators, and information gathered during reference verification.”
“His experience, knowledge and refined interpersonal skills make Mr. Gray a wonderful match for Page School,” Mulqueen added.
Currently the elementary school principal in Rockland, Gray previously served as principal for seven years in Dover, N.H. Prior to that he worked as an assistant principal in Londonderry, N.H., and as an elementary school teacher in Dover, N.H., and Alexandria, Va.
“His experiences include emergency response planning, managing Section 504 plans and special education school services, implementing K-4 STEM instructional models, and supporting healthy school initiatives and school campus and green school building design,” according to the press release.
Mulqueen also touted Gray’s ability to get parents actively involved in the school while also reaching out to partners within the greater community.
“During his interview, Mr. Gray was clear about all parents having a part in the education of their children and in the life of the school,” he said.
When reached yesterday, Sandra Capo, a parent who served on the selection committee, said she was excited that Gray has accepted the offer.
“I look forward to him joining our district,” she said.
Gray will receive a starting salary of $105,000. O’Mara’s salary was prorated to reflect his departure mid-way through the school year, but had he completed his term, he would have earned $100,370 with an added $5,000 stipend for technology development in the district. Gray’s contract does not include a separate stipend for this additional responsibility, Mulqueen said.
Pentucket Middle School Principal Debra Lay is serving as interim principal at the West Newbury elementary school until the end of the school year. Pentucket High School Principal Jonathan Seymour is covering Lay’s responsibilities at the middle school while she is filling in at Page. Lay has announced her plans to leave the district in June.
Mulqueen is considering making Seymour’s temporary post as the district’s combined middle/high school principal position permanent in the upcoming school year. Parents and teachers are encouraged to contact Mulqueen or members of the Pentucket School Committee with any feedback or concerns about this possibility.