UPDATED 12 noon
Matt D’Andrea, superintendent of schools for Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools since 2015, is one of two finalists for the superintendent’s job in Wareham, according to a press release posted on the Wareham Public Schools website.
D’Andrea, before he moved to the Island in 2013 to become assistant superintendent, served as a principal and assistant principal in the Old Rochester Regional School District, which is next door to Wareham. He was also a classroom teacher in Wareham, Fall River, and Framingham.
The other finalist is Andrea Schwamb, who is an assistant superintendent in Wareham. She was previously an elementary principal in Falmouth, and an assistant principal in Duxbury.
According to the release, D’Andrea and Schwamb were selected from among 19 candidates for the job. The search committee is scheduled to present the finalists to the school committee on Thursday, March 31. Visits to the school districts of the two finalists are scheduled for the week of April 11, as well as interviews of D’Andrea and Schwamb.
The Wareham board expects to make a decision by April 28 so the new superintendent can begin working July 1.
This comes as D’Andrea is leading the school district’s proposal to seek Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) funding for a new regional high school on Island. The Island’s select boards are scheduled to meet with the MVRHS school committee on Wednesday, March 30. Meanwhile, D’Andrea has also been at the forefront of the school district’s plans for a new sports complex at the high school, which includes a controversial synthetic turf field.
In a phone conversation, D’Andrea told The Times he was a teacher in Wareham for 10 years.
“I have a lot of fond memories from Wareham. In a lot of ways, it’s a lot like the Island — great families, terrific staff, hard-working,” he said. “I’ve never entertained being a superintendent anywhere else, except for the possibility that if Wareham opened, my wife and I discussed I would quite possibly apply.”
D’Andrea said the couple’s youngest son is a high school senior, so that made this an opportune time to explore the job. “I’m a finalist. We’ll see how it goes,” he said.
In 2017, D’Andrea signed a six-year contract extension that runs through the end of June 2023. His contract was set at that time at $170,000 with a $5,000 per-year raise, which would bring his current salary to $195,000.
“This is where I want to be,” D’Andrea said at the time he reached that deal. “I love working with these kids, and my colleagues and the Island community.”
D’Andrea said he still feels strongly about the Island schools. “I’m not unhappy with this job. This is a fantastic job in a fantastic community with great families and a terrific staff,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out in Wareham, I’m still here. We’ll see how the process works out.”
Amy Houghton, chair of the regional school district, confirmed that D’Andrea is about to enter the final year of that contract. She said D’Andrea has made her aware that he’s a finalist in Wareham.
“My thoughts are always that I want the best for anybody,” Houghton said. “I will miss him if he chooses to go, if he’s selected. I think he has done a great job of leading through a pandemic and its challenging times.”
Updated with comments from D’Andrea.