Wendy Harvey, left, and Jeff Guerette, right, will continue as assistant principals at Westbrook High School this fall. Former high school Assistant Principal Jennifer Mull-Brooks, center, was recently named principal at Congin School. File photo

WESTBROOK — The high school will continue its three-person approach to the principalship into the new school year, viewing it as an opportunity to try out the fresh approach while also making it easier to hire one assistant rather than a sole principal.

The school district will possibly reopen the search for a principal in the winter, but in the meantime, the school year is slated to start out with three assistant principals coordinating to fill that role. Jennifer Mull-Brooks had been one of the three this spring but was recently named principal at Congin Elementary School, so officials are looking to hire a new, third assistant principal internally.

“One of the successes of the spring was that our candidate was from within the school, and being able to provide that sense of continuity and that sense of consistency and having an internal leader was a benefit, so we will start with that,” Superintendent Peter Lancia said.

The job posting is out and the hope is to have a third assistant principal selected and on the job before the school year begins.

“Typically the search is open for 10 days, so I am hoping that will wrap up early August, at least identifying the candidate, and that person would have to be approved by the school committee,” Lancia said. “All of these roles are one year only, as we look at this model to see if it’s viable. At this point, it’s my intention to launch a full search for a principal sometime this winter but at the same time, we will evaluate this model throughout the year to see all of our options.”

Having the same set-up with a new member will also allow officials to identify if the success of the principalship model over the spring was due to how well the three assistant principals, specifically,  worked together, or if the model itself is successful.

“All three of them contributed something strong.  I hope it’s not just personality but that it’s a skill set piece,” Lancia said. “We will miss (Mull-Brooks) at the high school, but we are glad she is still in Westbrook. As we look to fill that third chair, that person will bring unique qualities to the role as well as some that were existing. I learned long ago you can’t replace someone completely. Whoever fills that role, no matter what you do, it’s different and that will help us explore the model.”

Lancia said there were noticeably fewer parent complaints this spring under the assistant principals’ leadership model.

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