Wareham High School principal completes final interview for position in Plymouth
After 25 years of working in Wareham Public Schools, Wareham High School Principal Scott Palladino had his finalist interview for a position as principal of Plymouth North High School on Thursday.
Palladino, who has been the principal of the high school for 8 years, interviewed right after fellow finalists Amy Cetner, principal of Bourne High School, and Peter Parcellin, associate headmaster at Taunton High School.
"It's been an awesome ride" being the principal of Wareham High School, Palladino said in his interview. He said he loves being a principal there and that if he is not offered the position at Plymouth North High School, he plans to remain at Wareham.
"This is the only job I'd leave Wareham for," said Palladino, who currently lives in South Plymouth. "After this you won't see my name in any newspaper as a finalist for any other position."
But, Palladino said he's a "product of Plymouth Public Schools, so it's always been in the back of my head." Being a principal at Plymouth North High School has been a dream for him since he was young. He said he hopes to be able to give back to the community that has had an impact on himself and his family.
The final decision for the principal position will be made within the next week. There were 22 applicants and 8 semifinalists. The top 3 semifinalists have made it to this point. The final hiring decision will be made by Plymouth Public Schools Superintendent Gary Maestas, who will weigh feedback from parents, students and faculty in making his decision.
Parents and teachers attended the interview Thursday night to ask Palladino questions about his experience and philosophy. Palladino emphasized the importance of getting parents engaged and involved in the school and finding informal ways to establish relationships with parents. He uses multiple means of communication with parents: Twitter, Facebook, email updates, the district website, phone calls and mailings.
He also discussed his practice of visiting classrooms frequently with short observations to be aware of what's happening in classrooms and provide teachers with timely feedback.
Palladino also focused on his priority of giving students a voice and allowing them to give feedback and work on improvements that are important to them. This can be done as simply as through Google surveys, he added, to find out what students are thinking.
One parent asked Palladino about how he plans to tackle the issue of drug among high schoolers.
"Students think there's nothing wrong with marijuana," Palladino said. "We've sent the wrong message by decriminalizing it...it's a gateway drug." He said educating parents and using creative ways to infuse education for students can be effective.
Another attendee asked Palladino about the high staff turnover Wareham High School has had, which Palladino attributed to the wages teachers earn. He said the high school pays teachers around $10,000 less than neighboring towns, which is part of why the school has a small pool of applicants and loses teachers at a faster-than-average rate.
One of the most important things in the hiring process is level of experience applicants had, said Plymouth Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Patricia Fry. All three candidates were very different and came from very different communities, she said, but each has experienced working in a high school leadership position for many years.