Pioneer Valley Regional School District seeking interim principals for two schools

  • Pioneer Valley Regional School in Northfield. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • The sun sets behind Northfield Elementary School. Staff File Photo/Shelby Ashline

Staff Writer
Published: 7/6/2022 3:42:00 PM
Modified: 7/6/2022 3:39:23 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Pioneer Valley Regional School District is searching for interim principals for both Pioneer and Northfield Elementary School, as the district undertakes preparations for a permanent search during the 2022 to 2023 school year.

With the district opting to part ways with Pioneer Principal Kevin Burke and Northfield Elementary Principal Megan Desmarais moving into a fourth-grade teaching role, the school district is seeking interim replacements. A permanent search process is expected to begin in February and March 2023.

“(Desmarais) was our incredibly capable building leader for six years,” Superintendent Patricia Kinsella said. “We are delighted she will be staying as an educator.”

Desmarais announced her return to teaching in mid-May, which meant it was too late for the district to conduct a search for a permanent replacement. For Pioneer Valley Regional School, however, a principal search process was conducted and identified Ware Junior Senior High School Assistant Principal Kevin Roy as a finalist. Although Roy was interviewed on June 29, Kinsella wrote in a July 1 newsletter to the community that the district would opt for an interim candidate instead.

“It’s a tough hiring environment for administrations, I’m hearing that with every superintendent I speak with,” Kinsella said. “There are some wonderful folks out here, don’t get me wrong … but in general, the pools aren’t as deep, and geography does not favor our district.”

In the meantime, Kinsella said both interim positions have been posted and applications are rolling in. Both job postings will close this weekend and formal candidate interviews will begin next week.

The candidate pool for an interim position, Kinsella said, is often different from someone seeking a permanent job and she will be spreading the word about these two opportunities to other districts.

According to the candidate profile listed on the job description, the district is seeking a Pioneer Valley Regional School principal with “significant teaching and leadership experience” in middle and high schools, who will “nurture the school community” and will “promote an educational vision that buildings from the diversity of student interests and needs.”

For the Northfield Elementary School position, the district is seeking an administrator who can “incorporate an understanding of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on students and staff,” and who has an “awareness of the pedagogical and workplace demands that rollout of a new literacy curriculum places on staff.”

The timeline for a permanent search will begin in February and March of 2023 when both principal search committees — which will include Kinsella, School Committee members, school staff, a community member and parents — set out to find a long-term principal.

Kinsella said having two interim principals will not affect the school district’s long-term planning.

“Long-term planning for the district is a team process. … We’re OK,” Kinsella said, noting that administrators, teachers and support staff will guide the district. “We’re going to make all of this work and it’s going to take a little longer than anticipated.”

The application for the Pioneer Valley Regional School principal position can be found at bit.ly/3ABmy3f. The application for the Northfield Elementary School principal position can be found at bit.ly/3RailJH​​​​​​​.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.


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