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Former Gateway principal hired as interim at Hopkins Academy in Hadley

Rooney was expected to meet this week with Diana Bonneville, whose last day as Hopkins principal will be Dec. 21, said interim Superintendent Donna Moyer. He also planned to be at the school during half-days this week and next week before starting full time on Jan. 2, she said.

“He’s not afraid to make hard decisions, he has a technical orientation and an attention to detail, and has a very calming personality,” Moyer said. “There aren’t too many things he hasn’t seen or done.”

Rooney retired this past fall after four years as guidance director and academic coordinator at Pathfinder Regional Technical High School in Palmer. Before that, he was principal of Quaboag Regional School in Warren for two years, and was director of distance education at the Hampshire Educational Collaborative in Northampton for two years.

From 1993 to 1996 Rooney was principal of Thornton Burgess Middle School in Hampden, and from 1988 to 1992 he was guidance director and associate principal at Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Shelburne Falls. He has also taught U.S. history and contemporary issues at Gateway and Mohawk Trail.

Rooney graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in history, and received a doctorate in educational administration from UMass in 1992. In 1982 he earned a master’s degree in counseling from Antioch University in Ohio.

An eight-person committee, comprising staff, administration and School Committee members, interviewed four candidates, and Moyer made the final decision, she said. She cited Rooney’s even temper and his experience in running schools democratically as reasons for her choice.

Bonneville, who has been Hopkins principal since 2007, is leaving to become principal of South Hadley High School. She will work with Superintendent Nicholas Young, who led the Hadley schools for 11 years before taking the South Hadley job in June.

A permanent replacement for Bonneville could be hired as early as next spring, Moyer said.

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