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Search officially begins for new high school principal

Date: 5/2/2011

May 2, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW — The search for outgoing East Longmeadow High School Principal Michael Knybel's replacement has officially begun.

With the position officially posted as of April 21, the East Longmeadow School Committee and School Department hope to have a new principal by July 1. The department will accept applications until May 1.

"It is an aggressive time frame, but it is important for us to get someone in place," Gregory Thompson, chair of the School Committee, said.

The district is scrambling after Knybel's sudden announcement to Superintendent Gordon Smith that he would be assuming the same role at Lenox Memorial Middle and High School, joining former East Longmeadow Superintendent and current head of the Lenox School District Edward Costa II.

Knybel will remain at the school until the end of the year, Smith said.

"That is part of our transitional plan at this time," Smith said. "We will work with [Knybel] and Assistant Principal Ryan Kelly to help make this transition as smooth as possible."

Thompson said, "We are looking for the best possible candidate to lead East Longmeadow High School into the future. It is worth looking at all candidates and if that person comes from within the district, great. If they come from outside the district, that's good, too."

Two separate search committees have been created. The first, a 12-member panel, will do the initial screening of the candidates. That committee will be led by Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Valerie Annear and will consist of two School Committee members, two administrators, two high school teachers, two high school parents council representatives, the school's executive secretary and a junior and senior from the school.

Vice-Chair Elizabeth Marsian-Boucher and Richard Freccero will represent the School Committee on the panel.

That committee will narrow the search to three or four candidates, will be recommended to the second committee.

That committee, which will consist of Thompson, Smith, Assistant Superintendent for Business Theresa Olejarz and a member of the East Longmeadow Education Association, will conduct further interviews and possibly site visits, Smith said.

"Obviously, it's ultimately the superintendent's decision, but he will take input from everyone involved in this process to ensure the best candidate possible is hired," Thompson said.

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