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Principal finalist Paul Plummer interviews in South Hadley

  • Paul Plummer of Brookfield has been named the new principal of the Michael E. Smith Middle School in South Hadley.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Paul Plummer of Brookfield has been named the new principal of the Michael E. Smith Middle School in South Hadley.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Paul Plummer of Brookfield has been named the new principal of the Michael E. Smith Middle School in South Hadley.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Paul Plummer, the only candidate for principal at South Hadley High School, fields a question during an interview with the School Board and members of the community Monday at the school.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

Plummer answered questions about how he would lead the school in South Hadley as well as his leadership style as assistant principal at Birchland Park Middle School in East Longmeadow.

Plummer said one of his strengths is bringing people together to focus on common goals, which he has done in his current position by collecting data, such as through surveys, and making himself accessible to faculty, parents and students.

“It’s not just one person,” Plummer said. “You do need to work together with other entities.”

In addition to his experience as an administrator, Plummer also has 10 years of experience teaching science at the middle school level, and for two years he was the head of the middle school science department at Amherst Regional Middle School. He said he would like to apply his experience as an administrator while keeping in mind what it was like to be a teacher.

Plummer said he would maintain an “open-door” policy for faculty, and make an effort to get out of his office to best understand the students and the school environment.

“I’m not one to sit in my office unless I have to do something in my office,” Plummer said. “I really try to be out and about.”

Plummer said that he would encourage teachers to incorporate “real-world” applications as part of their lessons.

He pointed out that students sometimes say “I’ll never use this,” and ask questions such as “Why is this important to me?” Plummer added that they might act up to create a distraction if they do not understand the practical application of a lesson. By integrating real-world projects along with the state standards, students might be more likely to remain focused, he said.

Plummer also said he would continue to make an effort to ease transitions for incoming students, as well as focus on anti-bullying efforts.

“If a student is uncomfortable, then learning won’t take place,” he said.

When asked how he handles communication with parents, Plummer said he makes an effort to “drop everything” and hear them out and follow up. The worst thing to do, he said, is to say “I don’t have time.”

The current middle school principal, Erica Faginski-Stark, is becoming the director of curriculum and grants management for the district.

Superintendent Nicholas Young said he will announce this week whether Plummer will be hired to replace her.

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