By Michelle Pelletier Marshall
---- — BYFIELD — After interviewing numerous candidates, Triton Regional School Superintendent Christopher Farmer announced last week that the “new” principals at the both the middle and high school will be the current acting principals.
Middle School interim Principal Alan MacRae and Kathryn Dawe, the high school interim principal, will continue on in their roles, with three-year contracts set to run through 2016. Salaries have not yet been negotiated, but the ranges are between $95,000 to $110,000 for the middle school position and between $105,000 and $120,000 for the high school principal.
Liz Finn will continue in the role of assistant principal at the middle school while Scott Brennan and Sarah Scruton, whose contracts are still in effect, will remain in their dual role as assistant principals at the high school.
Searches for both positions included interviews of other candidates by staff, parents and administrators, and in the case of the high school principal, the two-stage interview process involved five of the 23 applicants gleaned from a national search that attracted applicants from Arizona, Colorado, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Farmer said that during the course of the debriefing and discussion, after interviewing four candidates for the middle school principal position, it became clear that there was general support for making the appointment of MacRae without conducting a second round of interviews.
“The calm way in which Alan MacRae took over responsibility for the school on short notice last August was impressive, as are the strides that the school has made during the course of the year,” Farmer said. “The staff panel made it clear that they have had their best year in a long time.”
Farmer praised the respected and effective team that MacRae and Finn have become during the last year, saying now they could move forward and build on that solid foundation “to bring faculty together in a collaborative effort to provide the best they can for every student.”
In light of the success of the middle school administrative team, Finn was asked to continue in the role of assistant principal.
MacRae is an alumnus of the Pine Grove School in Rowley and the Triton school system. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Framingham State and an master’s in education from Cambridge College. Prior to his becoming assistant principal four years ago, he served as a special education teacher.
Announcing Dawe as the choice for the next high school principal, Farmer pointed to the fact that during her tenure as interim principal, which began in 2011, she has moved a number of initiatives forward that benefit students, staff and families, such as the Freshman Advisory Program and a reinvigorated, more appropriately represented and active School Council.
Additionally, he said, she understands the implications of the district’s development plan and the state’s changing agenda for the school and staff.
“Kathryn’s work is unwaveringly focused on what is best for students and her work ethic and commitment to Triton are unquestionable,” Farmer said. “Critically, Kathryn led the righting of the ship through a collaborative process in the fall of 2011 when the school was in trouble over its accreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. This may be an internal appointment, but it is not about maintaining the status quo.”
Dawe has been the interim principal at Triton Regional High School since November 2011 when principal Kevin McLaughlin was terminated. Prior to that, she had been assistant principal at the school since 2000. Before coming to Triton, Dawe was a math teacher.
Dawe holds a bachelor’s degree and an master’s in education, both from Salem State University.