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Diana Bonneville, Edward “Ted” McCarthy finalists for principal job at South Hadley High

  • <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Budge Litcherfield, principal at Sanderson Academy.



    CAROL LOLLIS
    Budge Litcherfield, principal at Sanderson Academy. Purchase photo reprints »

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Edward "Ted" McCarthy, the assistant principal at South Hadley High School since 2010, is one of two finalists for the principal's job.

    GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
    Edward "Ted" McCarthy, the assistant principal at South Hadley High School since 2010, is one of two finalists for the principal's job. Purchase photo reprints »

  • <br/><br/>CAROL LOLLIS<br/>Budge Litcherfield, principal at Sanderson Academy.
  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Edward "Ted" McCarthy, the assistant principal at South Hadley High School since 2010, is one of two finalists for the principal's job.

School Superintendent Nicholas D. Young said Wednesday that “two very strong candidates” are finalists chosen from 31 applicants by a search committee. They are South Hadley High School Assistant Principal Edward “Ted” McCarthy of Amherst and Diana L. Bonneville of Becket, principal of Hopkins Academy in Hadley since 2007.

“I’m very focused on academic improvement,” Young said. “I’m looking for a track record and an understanding of how to improve student achievement.”

Young said high school parents have been notified of the interviews. While parents will not be allowed to participate in the school board’s formal interview process, there will be time for them to mingle with applicants and ask questions, he said.

He said he expects to choose the new principal by Oct. 26 to replace Sean McNiff, who resigned unexpectedly in August for what Young termed “personal reasons” after a year on the job. Veteran educator Christine Sweklo, who had served as acting superintendent when former superintendent Gus A. Sayer retired in January, stepped in as acting principal.

“We want to make sure we get a good fit to bring the school forward,” Young said. “I want a long-term commitment. I consider this more of an adoption than a hiring.”

Young said he expects the new principal to earn between $100,000 and $110,000 a year, to sign a two- or three-year contract and to start at the high school “before Christmas.”

Young pointed out that if Bonneville is chosen, she must negotiate ending her contract with Hadley, and if McCarthy is chosen, his position as vice principal must be filled.

“Each step in the process requires some maneuvering,” he said.

If Young hires Bonneville, she would be the second Hadley educator to follow him to South Hadley. Young, who was superintendent of Hadley schools for 11 years before taking the South Hadley job this year, has already hired former Hopkins Academy athletic director Patrick Lemieux as the second assistant principal at South Hadley High. Lemieux replaced William Evans, who is now principal of North Brookfield High School.

Hadley School Committee Chairwoman Robie Grant declined to comment when asked about Bonneville’s possible departure from Hopkins Academy.

Bonneville was reportedly away from the school Wednesday attending a funeral, and could not be reached for comment. McCarthy also could not be reached for comment.

“The single most significant contributing factor to student academic achievement is effective leadership,” Bonneville wrote on her resume. “The beliefs and actions of a school’s leader have an impact on climate and achievement. When effective leaders focus on student learning as an achievement and not an activity, student success occurs.”

Bonneville has a master’s degree in education from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, and is pursuing post-graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

She served as an assistant principal in Northampton from 2000 to 2007 and as a social studies teacher in the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield from 1995 to 2000.

McCarthy has a master’s degree in education from Westfield State University and is completing a certificate in advanced graduate studies at UMass. He has been assistant principal in South Hadley since 2010 and was chairman of the special education department there from 2005 to 2010. He was head teacher at the Hampshire Educational Collaborative in Northampton from 1996 to 2005.

On his resume McCarthy lists his key South Hadley High accomplishments as developing the school’s advisory program; creating a writing center and “Day at College” program in conjunction with Mount Holyoke College; and helping create community service opportunities for students, among other things.

Staff writer Ben Storrow contributed to this story. Etta Walsh can be reached at ewalsh.gazette@gmail.com.

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