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What do you want in the new Newton South principal?

Posted by Tom Coakley  February 3, 2009 02:26 PM

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By Rachana Rathi
Globe staff

Newton South High School parents will have the chance to weigh in on what they want in a new principal.

On the heels of Superintendent Jeff Young's meetings with faculty and parents on Monday, district officials sent out a survey to parents asking what they are looking for in the head of their child's school.

Principal Brian Salzer, whose salary is $137,641, announced last week that he will not return when his contract is up at the end of the school year. After three years, Salzer is interviewing for superintendent and assistant superintendent positions in the Commonwealth and Connecticut.

Young, parents and students praised Salzer's tenure as a student-centric principal, but said they want someone who will stay at the school for longer.

Young, who has said he wants to hire Salzer's successor by the end of April, is putting together a 20-member principal search committee comprised of faculty, parents and students. The committee will review applications, interview candidates, and recommend three or four finalists for Young to consider.

The survey is a step in gathering information about the attributes the community wants in a new principal.

The four-question survey asks parents to assess what the principal's central function should be, namely whether its to continue with past gains and produce stability or move forward with a new vision that might create instability. It also asks about the skills they value most in a principal and the order of priorities for the principal's administrative functions. The last question is an open-ended question about what challenges parents think Newton South faces over the next three to five years.

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