PEABODY — Just when the city has found its future superintendent, it will now begin its search for a new high school principal.
Ed Sapienza, the principal at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School since 2007, has announced he will retire June 30.
Although his 40-year career as an educator was long and diverse, his resignation letter to interim Superintendent Herb Levine was short and to the point.
"I plan to retire from the Peabody Public Schools on June 30, 2012," Sapienza wrote in the letter dated March 6. "I would like to thank you and the Peabody School Committee for your support and confidence in me over the past 40 years. If I can be of any future assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me."
Sapienza was hired as high school principal after working for decades as a teacher and assistant principal. He was also a union president. Former Superintendent C. Milton Burnett hired him in 2007 to replace former Principal Patrick Larkin.
Sapienza was not available for comment yesterday.
"I've known Ed as a teacher, a School Committee member himself, a (union) representative sitting across the table from him negotiating, and I've seen him become an administrator," said committee member David McGeney. "Every one of those roles he has done expertly and with respect."
Committee member Jarrod Hochman agreed.
"Ed's done a terrific job at the high school on a lot of different levels," he said. "He's certainly earned his retirement."
Sapienza's resignation notice comes just a month after the School Committee voted to hire former Peabody Assistant Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola as the district's next superintendent. He is expected to start working in Peabody on July 1.
Hiring the next principal at the high school — which has more than 1,800 students — is the job of the superintendent, but the School Committee will surely also weigh in. Whether Levine or Mastrocola will make the hire is unclear.
"That has to be determined; maybe it will be done in conjunction," McGeney said. "The sooner (a new principal can be hired), the better, so there is some time for transition. Having Ed Sapienza working beside his replacement would be the best-case scenario, but that's not always possible.
"Knowing Ed," he said, "I can't believe he would not leave everything in perfect order."