Only One Finalist Left in Principal Search


Ella Shlonsky

A group of community members discuss their thoughts after the April 22 principal meeting with search firm Hazard, Young, & Attea

The search for Shaker Heights High School’s new principal is drawing to a close, if the final candidate proves a good fit.

According to Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr., about 38 people from across the country applied for the job. From there, according to a statement Hutchings emailed The Shakerite today, the search firm Hazard, Young, & Attea used feedback from staff, students and the community to choose the top five candidates for interviews.

The interview panel comprised high school teachers, high school parents, a PTO council representative, an SHTA representative, high school support staff, a high school custodian, a high school administrator and a central office administrator.

The panel interviewed the candidates via Internet chat last week, narrowing the search down to two.

The district published a notice on May 27 updating the community on the narrowed search. The notice stated “two candidates advanced to the final round, but only one wished to continue.”

In a May 29 phone interview, Hutchings cited the publicity of the search as a reason for the second candidate’s withdrawal.

“Having such a public interview could cause some people not to pursue the position,” Hutchings said. “However, it’s worth the process being public so we can get the right person. We want to get the right fit”

It’s unclear as to how the withdrawal of the candidate will affect the search’s initial timeline. However, Hutchings noted in the update that an interim principal is still a possibility.

“While the District’s goal is to have a new principal in place for the 2015-16 school year, an interim principal will be appointed if the current search does not produce the best fit,” the release stated.

The notice also announced that the top candidate will participate in a meet and greet June 3, held in the high school’s large auditorium from 7-8 p.m. In addition, the candidate’s June 3 schedule was released.

High school English teacher and SHTA President John Morris was a chosen panelist, and participated in the interview process.

“I know that the two candidates that were up were well-qualified, and I think that the one candidate that we will see on June 3 will be a very strong one,” Morris said.

Morris noted the level of risk involved in interviewing for a job in a new district while still holding a position in another.

“People are  interested in these positions, but often times they’re still principals or administrators in other districts. So, there’s a privacy issue. As much as they don’t want to jeopardize their present position, there’s a certain amount of confidentiality,” Morris said.

At this time, there is no additional information available on the top two finalists.

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