Update on Bentley Principal Search

Update on Bentley Principal Search
Posted on 02/10/2020
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On February 3rd, the School Committee unanimously approved the innovation plan for the Bentley Academy Innovation School. We are excited to take the next steps with this plan.

Moving the innovation plan forward includes a search for a permanent principal. An 11-member team was formed, comprised of two parents, a paraprofessional, a general education teacher, a special education teacher/coach, an ELL teacher, a member of the Bentley administration, a district principal, a School Committee member, a community partner, and a central office administrator. The committee developed a screening tool together, based on the qualifications and responsibilities outlined in the job posting. This team had equal input to bring forth the candidate finalists for the principal position.

The process included screening seventeen applicants. Interviews were offered to seven of these applicants: four external candidates, and 3 internal candidates. Three final candidates were unanimously chosen by the 11-member committee to move on to round two interviews and the performative requirements of the interview process.

The candidates are (in alphabetical order):

Susan Carmona: Currently the assistant principal at Witchcraft Heights Elementary School, Susan has been with Salem Public Schools since 2018 and was previously in both Lawrence and Lowell as an Assistant Principal and ELL District Support Specialist. Within her roles as both an assistant principal and a bilingual English language and Literacy Coach, she worked on empowering teachers across multiple domains and fostering open communication with families. She was part of a leadership team that turned around a struggling school and led a school that went through a demographic shift. She continues to believe that all learners should find joy in their learning and attend a school that provides opportunities for all. 

Elizabeth Rogers: Currently the assistant principal at the Saltonstall K-8 School. Liz also served as a science instructional coach and ELL teacher for the district. A longtime resident of Salem, Liz has led work around equity and promoting family relationships to further assure student success as part of her current role. She is a strong proponent of collaboration and shared leadership and believes that high expectations for teaching and learning are the keys to the continued growth of instructional improvement that meets all students’ needs. She models reflective practice and is invested in developing supportive relationships with teachers as part of her management style.

Gavin Softic: Currently the assistant principal at Bates Elementary School, Gavin joined Salem Public Schools in 2011 and previously served as the Coordinator of Specialized Instruction, Director of the Special Education Extended Year Program, Team Chairperson and a Special Education teacher. Gavin is committed to empowering educators to build school-wide accountability that aligns with district priorities, including developing positive, ongoing family and community relationships. He has developed systems and structures to support safe learning communities and is committed to creating a culture in which students are exposed to student-centered and culturally relevant lessons and activities in all learning environments.

Salem Public Schools is fortunate to have 3 highly qualified and committed candidates and we look forward to next steps in the process. Superintendent Kathleen Smith will make the final decision by February 29, 2020.

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