Carlin Hart appointed new Oak Bluffs School principal


Carlin Hart came full circle this week, returning to Oak Bluffs School where he once served as assistant principal to take the reins as the new principal.

Although Mr. Hart’s appointment became effective Monday, he spent the day at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, closing out his duties as one of two assistant principals there.

“I’m really excited. It’s a little bittersweet, though,” Mr. Hart said in a phone call Monday afternoon. “The hard part is leaving the kids at the high school. I had gotten to know them, and I’ve known a lot of them for a long, long time.

“But in the same breath, I’m excited to go back to Oak Bluffs School, too,” he added.

In a phone call to The Times Sunday morning, superintendent of schools James Weiss said he had just spoken with Mr. Hart and that Mr. Hart had accepted the appointment.

“I spoke with a lot of people over the last few weeks and met with the staff at Oak Bluffs School last Thursday,” Mr. Weiss told The Times Sunday. “I ultimately decided today on Carlin Hart and appointed him after talking to him this morning.”

Mr. Hart’s new role will be a familiar one. After serving as assistant principal at Oak Bluffs School starting in 2001, he was selected by Mr. Weiss to serve as the school’s interim principal for the 2007-2008 school year, when then principal Laury Binney took a leave of absence.

In June 2008, Mr. Weiss appointed Mr. Hart interim assistant principal at MVRHS for the 2008-09 school year and then assistant principal in 2009-10, with a three-year contract.

Mr. Hart’s appointment as Oak Bluffs School principal comes in the wake of the unexpected resignation of former principal Binney, who announced his intention to leave the job in an email to Mr. Weiss and school committee members on June 26. Although Mr. Binney said he was resigning after 14 years for personal reasons, his email also hinted at friction with school personnel.

Mr. Binney said he would like his resignation to take effect between mid-September to mid-October. However, Mr. Weiss said recently that he wanted a new principal in place by September 1. The superintendent said then that he hoped to make the appointment soon.

“My selection of Carlin was based upon his previous experience at Oak Bluffs School and his ability to work well with staff, students and the broader community —he’s a people person,” Mr. Weiss wrote in an email to The Times Tuesday. “The situation at Oak Bluffs School will provide its challenges and Carlin will have almost immediate credibility.”

Since it has only been two years since he worked at Oak Bluffs School, Mr. Hart said he still remembers a great deal of the details of his administrative role, as well as the staff and students.

“There are still a lot of familiar faces, and the kids have just gotten a little taller, that’s all,” Mr. Hart said. He planned to meet with Mr. Binney and Oak Bluffs assistant principal Jennifer Arnold before the end of this week.

Mr. Binney declined in an email to The Times Tuesday to make a comment for this article.

With Mr. Hart’s new appointment, the high school once again has an assistant principal’s job to fill. Last spring Neal Weaver announced he would explore other options when his three-year assistant principal’s contract ended on June 30. Principal Steve Nixon began a search process in April with a 13-member committee.

Although the search committee selected some possible candidates, Mr. Weiss said none of them was found to be a good match for the school.

Rather than trying to conduct another search this summer, Mr. Weiss appointed MVRHS teacher Matt Malowski as a one-year interim assistant principal on July 19, with plans to reopen the search process next year.

Mr. Hart said he met with Mr. Nixon and Mr. Malowski on Monday to go over projects he had been working on, such as the 2010-11 student handbook, freshmen orientation day, and first day of school presentations in the Performing Arts Center.

“And Matt is going to be fine,” Mr. Hart said. “He’s new to the position, but he’s not new to the school. He’s going to slide right in.”

In the meantime, Mr. Weiss said, he and Mr. Nixon already are considering several options for moving forward to fill Mr. Hart’s vacancy.

“I believe we will try to make a quick appointment from someone within the high school, but that won’t be finalized until later this week,” Mr. Weiss said in his Tuesday email.

Mr. Hart and his wife Katie have three children. He said one of the things he will enjoy in his new job is driving to work with his daughter Kailyn, who starts kindergarten at Oak Bluffs School in September.

As for his daughter Jenny, a sophomore at MVRHS, “She said it was okay if I left,” Mr. Hart recalled, with a laugh. His son Patrick attends the United States Military Academy at West Point.