Cape Elizabeth seeks principals for 2 schools

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Interview committees are seeking new principals for Pond Cove Elementary School and Cape Elizabeth Middle School after Michael Tracy and Kelly Hasson resigned from their respective positions.

Application deadlines were July 24 for CEMS and July 31 for Pond Cove. 

According to School Board Chairwoman Elizabeth Scifres, the committees are well into the interview process for a new principal at the middle school and will soon begin interviews for the opening at Pond Cove.

Separate committees have been formed, comprised of three parents and at least six teachers from each school, as well as School Board members and office administrators.

Interim Superintendent Howard Colter said he was pleased to see that more teachers volunteered for the process than needed.

“We just didn’t want the committees to be overwhelming,” he said.

Colter, who was expected to serve as interim superintendent for only a year, will stay on as superintendent for the 2017-2018 school year.

The School Board intends to hold meetings with finalists for both principal positions later this month.

Scifres said everyone’s voice matters in these decisions. 

“The board appreciates everyone’s willingness to pitch in and do this very important work,” she said. “… (We’re) feeling both optimistic and confident about attracting high-quality candidates for the positions.”

Tracy submitted his resignation in late June. Scifres said he plans to look for career opportunities in his home state of Massachusetts; he has been commuting from there to CEMS from for the past four years.

Hasson resigned in July, Scifres said, to spend more time with her family. 

Neither Tracy nor Hasson could not be reached for comment this week.

From 1984 to 2003, Hasson taught first and second grade at Pond Cove. She was the school’s first teacher leader from 2003 until she departed in 2005. Before returning as principal in 2012, she was principal at two Portland elementary schools for seven years. 

Colter said July 28 that there have been a “good number of applicants for both positions so far.” 

“We’ve been very impressed by the caliber and experience of those who have been applying for both jobs,” Colter said. “Given the time of year, I was hopeful, but (now) I’m encouraged.”

Colter said each candidate the committees have met with so far is employed, so whether they would be available to start at the beginning of the school year is uncertain. 

If a chosen candidate is not available or the position hasn’t been filled by the start of the year, Colter said it will be business as usual at the two schools.  

“We have some very capable lead teachers in each school that can assist to start the school year,” he said. “We’ll make ourselves very visible and accessible.” 

“Cape Elizabeth has a wonderful, skilled, dedicated teaching staff, as well as supportive, engaged parents and community,” Scifres added.

As for a permanent superintendent, Colter said he is confident the School Board will find a capable superintendent to take over next July.

“The expectation now is that the board will advertise this job sometime in late fall and do another regional search,” he said. 

Every Friday, Colter drives three hours to spend the weekend with his wife at their home on Mount Desert Island before returning to Cape Elizabeth for the week on Monday. But he said he has no complaints. 

“It wasn’t a part of the plan for the district, or for me and my wife, but it has worked out quite nicely,” Colter said. “I really enjoy this job and this community … I can’t say enough nice things about the people I work with.” 

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.