, Salem, MA

March 13, 2013

Principal named at Peabody's South School

Superintendent to start over in search for leader at Carroll School

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — When it comes to finding principals for South and Carroll Elementary schools, many were called, but only one was chosen.

Superintendent Joe Mastrocola told the School Committee last night that he has picked Katelin Kennedy, South School interim principal, as the new principal of that school.

Meanwhile, he’s going back to the blackboard and starting over when it comes to finding a leader for Carroll School.

Mastrocola lauded Kennedy’s child-centered approach to the job and in an interview said, “She came highly recommended by the parents.”

She was also strongly supported by her staff, Mastrocola told the board. “She brings a wealth of knowledge. She brings a work ethic that is unparalleled.”

Kennedy spoke briefly, offering thanks and throwing credit in another direction.

“The kids are amazing,” she told the board. “I’m very excited for the opportunity.”

Kennedy, who’s in her ninth year in the Peabody schools, said she began as a special education teacher but was the assistant principal for the last three years. A Lynnfield native, she lives now in North Andover. She got her undergraduate degree from Westfield State, a master’s from Salem State and another degree in administration from American International.

The three finalists for the Carroll School job are all good people, Mastrocola said, but Carroll is a large school requiring a certain type of principal.

“After extensive interviews of the three candidates,” he told the board, “we felt we did not have the best candidate at this time. ... I met with the screening team last week, and they support my position.”

Mastrocola made a point of inviting new applicants. He mentioned the two candidates rejected for the Smith job, saying, “We’re inviting them to apply again.”

The choice of Kennedy marks the second time in a matter of weeks that the superintendent has chosen to elevate from within. Eric Buckley, assistant principal at the high school, was chosen to succeed the retiring Ed Sapienza. Last night, Mastrocola announced a formal “meet and greet” for the public to get know Buckley on Monday at 4 p.m. in the high school library.

The principal searches have involved “much hard work over the past 21/2 months,” the superintendent said. “We’re again going through the process. ... I feel confident that we will find the right candidate for the Carroll School.”