SWAMPSCOTT — Ralph Watson, principal of the middle school, announced Friday that he is leaving his position immediately.
"As you know, I recently accepted an offer of employment with the Cambridge Public Schools and tendered my resignation here in Swampscott," he wrote in an email to parents.
"Unfortunately, a health issue has developed, and I am required to leave active employment earlier than I had anticipated. I will spend the next few weeks regaining my strength, so I can be ready to start my work in Cambridge with all pistons firing."
Watson was scheduled to leave at the end of June to become one of four heads of Cambridge's Upper School.
As of today, Assistant Principal Megan Bonomolo will become acting principal for the remainder of the school year, and Todd Brown will become acting vice principal.
Three finalists have been named to fill the position permanently.
The search committee selected Chad Mazza, an elementary school principal in Holyoke; Jared Fulgoni, principal of Triton Regional Middle School in Newbury; and Roberty Murphy, principal of Pickering Middle School in Lynn.
The finalists were chosen from an applicant pool of 44. The finalists will visit Swampscott this week to tour the school, meet with parents, and take part in interviews with Superintendent Lynne Celli and other staff.
Celli will make her hiring decision after that. She said she hopes to hire someone around the first week in April.
Celli said she is looking for someone with "leadership, that is the big one, and a connection with the community."
MEET THE CANDIDATES
The public is invited to meet the candidates at the middle school's Little Theater at the following times.
Jared Fulgoni: Wednesday, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.
Chad Mazza: Wednesday, 11:15 a.m. to noon
Robert Murphy: Friday, 1 to 1:30 p.m.