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January 19 last day for Edgartown’s departing school principal
The Edgartown School committee, acting yesterday on the recommendation of superintendent James Weiss, decided Jan. 19, 2007, will be principal Paul Dulac's last day on the job.
Edgartown School committee members Leslie Baynes, David Rossi, and Susan Mercier, and superintendent James Weiss (from left) listen to faculty, parents, and community members at a public forum yesterday at Edgartown School regarding principal Paul Dulac's departure. Photo by Nis Kildegaard
Several people asked that Mr. Weiss describe his understanding of the sequence of events leading up to his request for Mr. Dulac's resignation.
Mr. Dulac announced on Nov. 6 that he would resign at the end of the school year, because of what he described as an apparently insoluble problem relating to his health insurance coverage upon retirement. At that time, he also revealed that he was in the running for a job as superintendent of the Marblehead School District.
On Nov. 8, after Edgartown officials, school committee members, and the Dukes County retirement board found a solution for his insurance issues, Mr. Dulac announced he would withdraw his name from consideration in Marblehead.
However, on Nov. 9, the Marblehead school district's superintendent search committee posted, on the Marblehead school district's web site, Mr. Dulac's name as one of the superintendent finalists.
Mr. Weiss confirmed on Nov. 14 that Mr. Dulac was still in the running for the job, and asked for his resignation the next day, meeting later with the Edgartown School committee to inform them of the decision.
Mr. Dulac spent Nov. 16 in Marblehead on a site visit. On Nov. 20, the Marblehead School committee named him superintendent.
Some of those at yesterday's forum asked whether Mr. Dulac had lied in the process. Mr. Weiss ran through the sequence of events. He said he could only tell them what he knew, because he was not privy to conversations that may have taken place between Mr. Dulac and the Marblehead school committee.
Members of the faculty and others who spoke yesterday said they did not want Mr. Dulac remaining in his job as principal. Teacher Barbara Reynolds commented, "We've been battered a lot. I think we have some mending to do as a staff. We've been in limbo for awhile."
Reminding the faculty that his wife is a teacher, school committee chairman David Rossi assured them, "We do appreciate what you do. We know where things get done." He and the other school committee members, Leslie Baynes and Susan Mercier, assured the assembly they wanted to move forward as quickly as possible in arranging for Mr. Dulac's replacement.
"People come and people go, that's life," said Mr. Baynes. "But I never lose any sleep at night, because I know I have you," he told the faculty. "Paul is yesterday's news. We're going to move forward, and we'll build on what we've got here."
After a short break at the conclusion of the public forum, the school committee and Mr. Weiss convened their regularly scheduled meeting, attended by Mr. Dulac.
Mr. Weiss gave the school committee a handout entitled, "Draft Edgartown search timeline." The first item listed was "January 19: Dr. Dulac's final day at Edgartown."
Why not sooner? Mr. Weiss explained that he is working as quickly as he can, but in addition to Mr. Dulac's resignation, he is currently coping with other personnel issues.
"I'm trying to be realistic," Mr. Weiss said. "It's going to take me a while to put things into place."
The school committee will begin advertising the principal position on Dec. 11. Meanwhile, Mr. Weiss has begun work on an interim transition team. "My goal is not to bring in one person from outside to be the interim," he said. "I'm trying to use the resources we have here [at Edgartown School] in a positive way.
According to Mr. Weiss's proposed timeline, following the school committee's meeting on Dec. 13, there will be a public meeting at the school with parents, the faculty, and community at 7 pm on Dec. 14. At that time, Mr. Weiss plans to bring everyone up to date on how the accelerated search process is going and possibly have an interim transition team put together.
The school committee does not plan to form a 10-person advisory committee to conduct the principal search, as they did a year ago. Instead, they plan to go back to the five candidates they selected the last time to see if any or all of them are still interested. If other candidates apply, the school committee and Mr. Weiss will conduct the screening process and schedule interviews for Jan. 22-25.
Commenting on the upcoming process, Mr. Rossi, school committee chairman, said, "What's paramount to us is that everyone has a say. It is an open public process, and it's going to be."
At the end of January or beginning of February, candidates will be invited for site visits and references checked. Mr. Weiss and the school committee's goal is to select a new principal and finish contract negotiations by February 7.
Mr. Weiss reminded everyone that it is likely the final candidate is already working in a job that will require him or her to finish out the school year, so he does not expect to get a new principal in the building until July.
Nis Kildegaard, who frequently writes for the Times, contributed to this article.