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Kristen Smidy named interim principal of Hampshire Regional High School

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Superintendent Craig Jurgensen appointed Kristen Smidy to take over during the search for a permanent replacement for former principal Laurie Hodgdon, who left at the end of June to take another job.

Jurgensen said he informed the School Committee on Monday about Smidy’s appointment. “The responses I have received have been 100 percent positive,” he said Wednesday.

Smidy, whose full job title is assistant principal for middle level programming and academic affairs, started work at Hampshire Regional two years ago.

Before she was selected from among 17 applicants for that job, she worked as a teacher and academic team leader at Duggan Middle School in Springfield.

In an email Tuesday, Jurgensen told staff that Smidy would serve as principal for the 2013-2014 school year, which began Monday.

“Kristen’s knowledge of HRHS staff, students, parents and programs ensures that she will be able to manage the many tasks and challenges of the principal’s job,” Jurgensen wrote. “She has proven that she is a thoughtful, fair, and committed professional.”

Jurgensen said in a previous interview that he and the School Committee agreed it was best to hire an interim principal instead of rushing a search for a permanent replacement for Hodgdon, who announced she was leaving May 22.

In the fall, school officials will convene groups to tease out what qualities staff, parents and others want to see in a new principal. The position will likely be advertised soon after the new year, qualified candidates will be interviewed in the spring and a replacement should be in place by July or August 2014, he said.

Jurgensen said he and Smidy will work together to soon select an interim assistant principal of the middle school.

Hodgdon has already started her new job as principal of Masconomet Regional High School in Topsfield.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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