Sean Mulvey selected Tisbury School assistant principal

Sean Mulvey, Tisbury School's new assistant principal. — Photo courtesy of Sean Mulvey

Sean Mulvey will greet Tisbury School students as their new assistant principal on their return to school in September. Mr. Mulvey was hired to fill the position left vacant by John Custer’s promotion to principal, effective August 1.

“I think the part I’m most looking forward to is seeing the building fill up with kids,” Mr. Mulvey told The Times in a phone conversation Tuesday. “It’s been great spending time with John and meeting the staff as they come through, but I’m really looking forward to meeting the students and parents, and getting to know the Tisbury community a little more.”

Mr. Mulvey took the reins from Mr. Custer, who served as assistant principal at Tisbury School since 2008, after teaching social studies there for four years.

“I feel very fortunate to be in a school with all of the educational professionals that are here, many of whom I’ve met already,” Mr. Mulvey said. “Tisbury School has such a strong reputation that I feel like I’ve got big shoes to fill from John, but I’ve got a ton of support surrounding me, too.”

Superintendent of schools James Weiss said Mr. Custer put together an assistant principal search committee that included teacher representatives from all grade levels and students groups, and school committee and parent representatives.

The job was advertised, and the search committee reviewed applications and interviewed a couple of final candidates, including Mr. Mulvey, who was selected on July 22.

“We were very pleased with Sean’s candidacy,” Mr. Weiss said in a phone conversation last Thursday. “We decided to offer the position to Sean for one year, to give John Custer an opportunity to see how everything works out.”

“Sean has already started work, and things are going along swimmingly,” Mr. Weiss added.

Good timing

For Mr. Mulvey, it was a matter of one school door opening as another closed. Although new to Tisbury School, he is not new to Island schools.

Mr. Mulvey served as the interim assistant principal at West Tisbury School for the 2010-2011 school year, under a one-year contract that expired June 30.

He was hired last summer to fill Donna Lowell-Bettencourt’s position when she was promoted to interim principal, following Bob Lane’s retirement in June 2010.

Mr. Lane had served as West Tisbury School’s interim principal after principal Michael Halt was deployed to Afghanistan as a colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves in January 2010.

Mr. Mulvey was hired with the understanding that the interim assistant principal job was short-term and was given a one-year contract that ended on June 30. On June 27, Mr. Weiss announced administrative changes for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, including Mr. Custer’s promotion to principal at Tisbury School.

When The Times asked Mr. Weiss at that time if Mr. Mulvey might be considered for the Tisbury School assistant principal’s job, he said he advised Mr. Custer to do a search fairly quickly, “and if Sean wants to apply, we’d welcome that.”

The timing of the Tisbury School position worked out right, Mr. Mulvey said, much as the one at the West Tisbury School did.

When asked what brought him to Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Mulvey said he and his wife Erika used to come east every summer to visit relatives on the Cape. On a side trip to Martha’s Vineyard two years ago with their two children, they were thinking it might be a place they would like to live someday and stopped by the superintendent’s office to inquire about schools.

“We found out about the job opening for the interim assistant principal at West Tisbury School, so things happened a little quicker than we thought,” Mr. Mulvey said. “Everything worked out marvelously.”

Although he will no longer work at West Tisbury School, Mr. Mulvey said he would continue to have ties to the school community there, both as a former administrator and through his wife and son. Mrs. Mulvey was recently hired as West Tisbury School’s special education coordinator for grades K-2. Their son Benjamin, age 7, returns for his second year at the school as a second-grader this fall. Daughter Avery, age 4, attends Island Children’s School.

Before coming to Martha’s Vineyard, Mr. Mulvey worked as the director of academics and director of the guidance department at private college prep school in Colorado.

He also has several years of experience in public high schools and taught high school preparatory classes to students in grades six through eight. In addition, Mr. Mulvey worked for a company that provided court-ordered classes and taught classes on drug and alcohol abuse, petty theft, and violence to children age 9 and older.