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Springs School Still Seeking Candidates for Principal Job

Wed, 03/22/2023 - 14:39
A pie chart showing respondents' answers to the school district survey seeking input on desirable candidates in the next school principal.
Springs School District

Twenty-two people have applied for the position of principal at the Springs School, its superintendent, Debra Winter, told the school board on Tuesday. However, when she crosschecked their qualifications with a key part of the school board's employment criteria — that candidates live somewhere on the East End — that pool of applicants shrank to just four.

Ms. Winter has since reopened the application window, reposting the job on Monday. Applications are due by Sunday.

"We hope to bring you five to seven people still," she told the board, "and that is the reason for putting it out again."

The timing of Sunday was purposeful, Ms. Winter said, because she plans to attend an education job fair on Saturday. "I thought maybe we would grab a couple more candidates," she said.

Also on Monday, the district placed advertisements for an assistant principal. Applications for that role are due on April 7. Details of both positions, excluding salary ranges, are posted on the statewide education job database at

Both vacancies arose with the simultaneous resignation, on Feb. 28, of Christine Cleary, the school principal, and Josh Odom, assistant principal. Ms. Cleary is moving upstate; Mr. Odom has been hired as the Montauk School District's next superintendent and principal.

Along with Monday's reposting announcement came the results of the administration's survey asking school employees, students, and families what characteristics they'd like to see in their next principal. Of the 233 responses, 130 came from students, 63 from teachers and other school staff, and 54 from parents.

In almost equal numbers, respondents said they want to see communication skills (142) and school culture improvements (140). After that came "understanding of the district's budget situation" (127) and "enhancing learning opportunities" (108).

Respondents also said they want the next principal to "set the tone and vision for the school," "get to know the staff, students, and community," "rethink the administrative structure," and "find someone local who will commit and stay." Other answers included "needs to be a role model of professional expectations" and "have a big heart, be compassionate, open-minded, and flexible."

Ms. Winter saved her favorite reply for last: the new principal should "make Springs School soar like the osprey!"

In a separate report during Tuesday's board meeting, she announced that there are still openings in the prekindergarten program for the 2023-24 school year. There will be three separate classes, each one still having spaces. "We have 46 so far, and we have 54 slots," the superintendent said.

As of March 16, Ms. Winter said, the Springs School has seen a bump in enrollment in the last month of 13 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade, and six students from the district at East Hampton High School.

"It is something that we'll keep a close eye on," she said. "I think April is one of those months that we also see an increase."



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