An Update About the Principal Search for SHS

An Update About the Principal Search for SHS
Posted on 04/06/2020
SHS witch

April 6, 2020

Dear Salem School community,

I am pleased to announce we are entering the final phase in the process of selecting a long-term leader for Salem High School.  Unfortunately, with the current Massachusetts state of emergency and current global pandemic guidelines, our revised timeline will not include on-site visits to Salem High School to meet with staff, students, and parent focus groups. However, I am confident that Dr. Stephen Zrike (incoming Superintendent) and I will be able to complete the final interviews remotely during the week of April 6-10.  Once these interviews are completed, we will select a principal for Salem High School with a start date of July 1, 2020 as planned.

In preparation for this week’s interviews, I am pleased to announce the following finalist candidates:

Dr. Russell Marino – Dr. Marino is currently the Coordinator of Policy, Protocol and Curriculum for the Pentucket Regional School District.  Dr. Marino previously served as a principal for Merrimac School District from 2016 to 2019.

Dr. Samantha Meier – Currently the interim principal at Salem High School, Dr. Meier previously served the Revere Public Schools in various leadership roles, spanning 2006 to 2019. Most recently, Dr. Meier had served as a deputy principal (Revere HS) and principal (Garfield MS).

Ms. Brenda Peña – Currently Ms. Peña serves as Associate Principal in the Waltham Public Schools, a role she’s held since 2017.  Previously, Ms. Peña worked as a School Social Worker for Lynn Public Schools and, formerly, as the Dean of Students/Head of Family Engagement for the Bentley Academy Charter School.


January 20- February 3

Online survey available—What characteristics/attributes are most important for an principal at SHS?

January 24

SHS principal job posted on TalentEd

Late January-Early February

Screening team formed

  • 2 Students—1 nominated by Student Council, 1 nominated by SHS head teachers
  • 3 Parents—1 nominated by SEPAC, 1 nominated by the Latino Leadership Coalition, 1 nominated by the School Site Council
  • 3 Staff—Nominated by Salem Teachers Union—Participating staff to represent the diversity of the SHS student demographic and different departments
  • 1 SHS School Leader—Nominated by SHS administrative team
  • 2 School Committee members—Nominated by School Committee Chair
  • 1 Community Partner—Nominated by the Superintendent
  • 1 SPS Principal—Nominated by the Superintendent
  • 1 Central Office Administrator—Nominated by the Superintendent

February 24

First convening of the Screening Team

  • February 24 from 5:30-7:00 PM

March 2

Screening team reviews resumes and identifies candidates to be interviewed

  • March 2 from 5:00-9:00 PM

March 9-11

Interviews & Deliberation

  • March 9-11 from 5:00-9:00 PM

March 11

Finalists recommended to Superintendent by screening team

March 16-18


Omitted due to current school closure

Finalist Interviews and School Visits

  • Executive team including Superintendent interviews finalists; interviews include performance tasks
  • Finalists visit Salem High School and meet with student, staff, and parent focus groups; participants provide feedback

Week of April 6

Superintendent/s checks references and conducts final interviews

End of Week April 13

Superintendent makes appointment


Kathleen Smith Signature

Kathleen A. Smith, J.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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