The Revere Public Schools announced this week they have hired new principals for the Paul Revere School and the Hill School, with both coming on July 1.
The two vacancies come about as longtime veteran principals Barbara Kelly and Ed Moccia announced their retirements earlier this year.
At the Paul Revere School, which is an innovation school that uses a governing board, the governing board put forth two candidates to Supt. Dianne Kelly.
She has chosen Donna Bonarrigo, who most recently taught as a principal in Lexington. Before that, however, she was a principal in Braintree for some time, and grew up in Boston.
“The governing board had selected her and a second candidate,” said Kelly. “Donna just shined because of her experience and her philosophy is very much aligned with Revere Public Schools. She believes in full inclusion, which is a critical part of the Paul Revere. She also believes in teacher leadership.”
At the Hill School, the advisory board there made only one recommendation to Supt. Kelly, and after interviews, she agreed.
The new Hill School principal will be Melissa Lomas, who most recently was the regional director of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Administration. Before that, she was a director of curriculum at Up Charter in Dorchester. Prior to that she taught first and fourth grades in North Carolina.
“The advisory group for the Hill only put this one candidate forth to me,” said Kelly. “That’s a challenge, but they were that adamant that it had to be her. They loved her educational philosophy.”
One thing that came out of the new hires is that more educators from outside the district are now heading up the schools. In years prior, Revere mainly relied on a pipeline of administrators, and a majority of the schools had been headed up by in-house candidates.
Supt. Kelly said both candidates are from outside the district, and that is a trend that’s been happening for the last several years.
“The challenge with the principal job is it’s not incredibly desirable,” she said. “We only had one internal candidate apply for these two positions…Also, the reputation of the Revere schools does play into it too. Both candidates here said they had heard of Revere schools and had heard good things. That made the jobs appealing to them. They said they weren’t applying for jobs everywhere. We’ve encountered that now for teachers as well.”
Another trend that has been showing within the hiring process is the importance of subscribing to the teacher leadership model. That model requires administrators to allow teachers to make many decisions within the school, with the administrator following through.
That, Kelly said, has become a much higher priority in the hiring process for school leadership.
“I have always believed in teacher leadership because if the teachers are included, they have a good chance at being successful and buying into the program,” she said. “If they are successful, the school will be successful and that means the kids will be able to find success too.”
The two new hires are likely to be the only vacancies at the principal level this school year, Kelly said.