Hadley seeks help in school chief search
HADLEY — The newly appointed interim principal of Hopkins Academy, Michael Rooney, attended his first Hadley School Committee meeting on Monday night.
Rooney said he has already started to get his bearings in his new position.
“I have been working here at the school on a part-time basis,” Rooney said. “Everyone here has been very welcoming and very friendly.”
After retiring in September of this year from Pathfinder Regional Technical High School in Palmer, where he served as the guidance director and academic coordinator, Rooney said he couldn’t resist applying for the interim principal position.
“I had heard a lot about Hopkins and I always had a high opinion of the school,” he said.
School Committee Chairwoman Robie Grant said the screening committee for a permanent principal will meet in early January, with interviews beginning in March. The target start date for the new principal is July 1, 2013.
Meanwhile, interim School Superintendent Donna Moyer will continue in that position until the end of the 2014 school year. Originally hired for one year, Moyer agreed to stay for two years to allow the School Committee to conduct an extensive search for a permanent school superintendent.
“We are currently accepting applications for the school superintendent screening committee,” Grant said.
Grant said she has received only eight applications and would like to broaden the outreach to allow more interested individuals to participate.
The committee is seeking six representatives, two from Hopkins Academy, two from Hadley Elementary School and two community members, Grant said.
Applications can be submitted to the School Committee until Jan. 24.
“It is tough to have two interim positions at the same time,” Rooney said. “That is a lot of work to go through for the school committee and the community.”
Rooney said he did not originally have plans to stay permanently, but he would not rule it out.
“At first, I just planned to be here for six months, but I have learned never to say never,” he said.
Having served as principal of Gateway Regional High School in Huntington, Quaboag Regional School in Warren and Thornton Burgess Middle School in Hampden, as well as associate principal at Mohawk Trail Regional High School in Shelburne Falls, Rooney said being interim principal at Hopkins Academy would have many similarities.
“It is not very different from all of the other places I have been. I am used to small schools, although the ones I have worked in were in much bigger districts with many more communities involved in the school,” Rooney said. “So it will be interesting to see what that is like.”
Anyone interested in serving on the school superintendent screening committee should contact Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 24.