NHS principal search suspended after screening complaint

Staff Writer
Published: 11/17/2019 10:45:42 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Northampton High School has suspended its search for a new principal after a member of the search committee lodged a complaint alleging that the group had improperly screened candidates.

Superintendent John Provost announced the suspension in a message to members of the school community. Provost said he has hired the Boston employment and education law firm Stoneman, Chandler & Miller to conduct an independent investigation of the committee’s procedures. Until that investigation is complete, the search for a principal is on hold, Provost said.

“My sincerest apologies for this delay, but the integrity of our search and selection process is of utmost importance,” Provost’s statement reads. “I will have no further comment until I have had the opportunity to review the results of the investigation.”

In a follow-up email, Provost told the Gazette that a member of the search committee made the complaint on Friday afternoon. He said the pause in the search for a new principal was communicated to staff on Friday afternoon and to the larger school community on Saturday morning.

Provost did not respond when asked about the substance of the complaint.

The district had hoped to make a final decision on a new principal by Thanksgiving. Longtime Principal Bryan Lombardi announced in May that he was leaving the school to become principal of Stoneham High School north of Boston.

Two finalists had recently emerged from a pool of 19 candidates — Lori Vaillancourt, interim principal of Northampton High School and previously an associate principal of the school, and Ted McCarthy, principal of Sutton High School and previously an assistant principal of South Hadley High School.

Provost said the independent law firm has not given the district a timeline for completing its investigation.

Dusty Christensen can be reached at dchristensen@gazettenet.com.
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