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A committee assigned to select a new high school principal could possibly make a selection by April.
“By spring break we will be announcing who the next high school principal is,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gene Schmidt said.
The application process closes this Friday, and then they will begin the selection process, Schmidt said.
“We’ve formed a principal-selection committee that consists mostly of my interoffice team and will feature a screening process that will include students and staff members from the community,” Schmidt said to the Los Alamos School Board at a recent meeting.
The process will also include two interview panels and a series of community afternoon and evening events where members of the community will be able to meet the candidates in a social setting. There will also be a separate reception hosted by the high school’s student council, where the council’s officers will be able to interview them as well.
Schmidt also said he welcomed a role for the school board and wanted to hear suggestions from the board about how they could improve the interview/hiring process.
School board secretary Matt Williams suggested to Schmidt that he would want Schmidt to play a more active role in the hiring process than just be the one who announces who the final selection will be.
Schmidt said that he has already told the panels to “create a priority, pick your top two, and I will make a choice.”
Schmidt also suggested to the school board that they could participate in those final stages as well, perhaps by being “silent viewers.” They could then discuss each other’s viewpoints, Schmidt said.
School Board President Jim Hall said he welcomed the opportunity, though he added, “hiring the principal is really the superintendent’s responsibility.”
He added however, that the board will probably have some say in the matter, if only as members of the general public.
“The board will listen I’m sure, and if they have a strong opinion one way or another, I’m sure they will call the superintendent and express those concerns.,” Hall said.
As of press time, Assistant Superintendent Gerry Washburn could not elaborate much on number of candidates they have or the process, but he did say they have at least two candidates from New Mexico. He would not say yet how many they have from the Los Alamos Public Schools applying.
Washburn said they are putting together their paper screening committees first to evaluate each candidate’s paperwork. Besides resumes and letters of recommendation, specific criteria they are looking for are experience with early college programs as well as dual credit courses. Finalists will be named March 10.
Even though a new high school principal is due to be announced in April, he or she probably won’t officially start the job until next school year. When they do, they will be replacing Sandra Warnock, who has been principal of the school for 4 and a half years.
Warnock joined the high school staff as a special education teacher in 1984. She served in that role for 22 years before accepting a job as assistant principal at the school.
During her tenure as principal, the school received many honors, including two “A” grades under the state’s new evaluation format.
In an earlier Los Alamos Monitor article, Warnock said one of the most enjoyable aspects was the people she met in the course of her job.
“It was the people part of the job that I liked the most, as well as the challenge of trying to make things better in the area of student achievement,” she said.