New Falmouth principal: 'I won't be sitting on my hands'

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FALMOUTH — New high school Principal Peter Badalament said his goals as he enters the new academic year include getting to know the school and the community.

But, he said in an interview Tuesday, “I won’t be sitting on my hands for the first year either. My goal is continuous improvement.”

The School Board voted 4-0 Monday to hire Badalament after Gregg Palmer resigned earlier this summer to become the principal at Deering High School in Portland.

Badalament, 50, signed a 45-week contract for just over $102,000, according to the School Department. He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts, with his family, but said he plans to find housing locally and will be in town during the school week.

He expects to go home on weekends and during vacations, and also have his family visit Falmouth.

Badalament has two children. His daughter will be a college freshman and his son will be a high school freshman. His wife is a former attorney who is now an eBay entrepreneur, he said.

Badalament most recently served as the principal at Concord-Carlisle High School, and has also been the principal of Bellingham and Hanover high schools, all in Massachusetts.

He has also taught high school social studies, English and government. He holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University.

Badalament took a year off from his career in education last year, but said Tuesday, “I wanted to get back into school leadership after my self-designed sabbatical.”

Badalament did a variety of things during the year, including some project work and teaching online through the University of New England.

“They were all interesting, but I found I really missed working directly with students and teachers,” he said.

Badalament said he applied for several other positions, but Falmouth High School “was the best fit of all the options. It will be challenging family-wise, but this is the best match in terms of the school and the wider community.”

Badalament said he first heard of the school through his work with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which accredits public schools throughout the region.

“I knew a little something about Falmouth and that it was one of the most excellent schools in Maine,” he said.

During his first months on the job, Badalament said he plans to spend a lot of time “learning about the school and the community and what it values.” But he’ll also be able to cast fresh eyes on how things operate.

At Monday’s School Board meeting, Badalament thanked everyone he’s met so far for the “warm welcome. I couldn’t feel more welcome. It’s been just great. I can’t tell you how great it feels to be so supported.”

He said Falmouth is an “outstanding school district and I couldn’t be happier to be here. I’m looking forward to learning more about the community and having a great school year.”

In introducing Badalament Monday, Geoff Bruno, the superintendent of schools, said, “I’m very excited to have him. He comes to Falmouth with extensive experience.”

Bruno said Badalament “just really, really connected with everyone” at what he called a “packed house” of staff, students, parents and community members that met Aug. 17 with all three of the finalists for the high school job.

He also noted that the students who attended the event “asked by far the hardest questions” of Badalament.

In an email Monday, Bruno said Badalament was the unanimous choice of the search committee, which was looking for someone with a student-centered and collaborative leadership style.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Peter Badalament, new principal at Falmouth High School, waits to be introduced to the School Board Monday, Aug. 21.

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