YARMOUTH — Superintendent Judy Paolucci will step down at the end of January to accept a superintendent position in Massachusetts.

Paolucci announced her decision to move to the Leicester Public Schools in an email Friday. Her last day is Jan. 27.

“I’ll be working full time and more to make sure the transition is smooth,” Paolucci said in a phone interview.

The school committee has named Ronald Barker interim superintendent while a search for a permanent replacement begins.

Paolucci, superintendent since 2009, said she sought the move to be closer to her family and husband, who works in Rhode Island. Leicester, located outside Worcester, is of similar size and performance as Yarmouth, she said.

Barker formerly worked at the Maine School Management Association, where he helped other districts search for superintendents.

He is also a longtime Yarmouth resident and educator; his wife, Joanne, had taught 4th grade at the Yarmouth Elementary School.

Barker will begin in mid-January, according to School Committee Chair Abby Diggins. A special meeting of the committee is slated for Jan. 3, when the members will begin deliberations on the composition of the search committee. Diggins said it was likely the group would hire an outside search firm to aid in the process.

She said plans call for a new superintendant to begin July 1.

“We thank Judy for her service to Yarmouth over the last four years and wish her the very best in her new position,” Diggins wrote.