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3 finalists in principal search at Ottoson

Eileen Driscoll WoodsInterim Woods

Bishop leader tells staff why he withdrew

UPDATED, Jan. 25: The search committee for the Ottoson principal position has named four finalists, and the public can expect to meet three of them Wednesday, Jan. 24, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the media center.

The schedule for the candidates was Donna Martin (6:30), Brian Meringer (7:15), Elizabeth Golden (8). The fourth, Bishop Principal Mark McAneny, has withdrawn.

Dr. Eileen Driscoll Woods, who has served in the position on an interim basis over the past two years after Timothy Ruggere left, confirmed McAneny had withdrawn, adding she did not know why. 

McAneny shared with YourArlington a letter to his staff sent last Sunday titled "Withdrawing Candidacy From OMS Search":

"Although it was my hope to further and grow my career by focusing on the work needed at the OMS, I have come to realize that my heart, passion, and commitment is with the Bishop community. With this said and with much thought, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy from the OMS Principal search.

"I look forward to our continued collaboration as we provide the best education for ALL of our students!"

A team from the public schools were to visit the finalists' current schools.

"We are pleased to have four strong candidates for this important leadership position in our district, and I am grateful for the dedicated work of the Search Committee," Superintendent Kathleen Bodie announced in an email Sunday, Jan. 7.

As listed Jan. 7, the finalists were:

-- Elizabeth Golden, assistant principal of the Collins Middle School in Salem. Dr. Golden, who was to visit Ottoson on Wednesday, Jan. 10, is in her 10th year in her current position. Her prior work was as a special education/history teacher at Lynn Public Schools' English High School. She also worked in Lynn's Welcoming Alternative Schools as a middle school special-education teacher. Prior to that she was a middle school special-education teacher at the Manville School in Boston, part of the Judge Baker Children’s Center.

-- Donna Martin, assistant principal of the McCarthy Middle School in Chelmsford. Martin has been in her current position for nine years. She was to visit Ottoson on Monday, Jan. 8. She was the secondary-level social-studies curriculum coordinator in the Chelmsford Public Schools for three years before her current position. From 1993 through 2006, she worked in the Arlington Public Schools, for 10 years at Ottoson as a social-studies teacher, and for two years at Arlington High School, also as a social- studies teacher.

-- Brian Meringer, assistant headmaster of the Dover-Sherborn Middle School. Meringer, who was to visit Ottoson on Jan. 16, has held his current position since 2013. Previously, he was a housemaster in the middle school in Norwood Public Schools. From 2002 through 2008 he was a sixth-grade social studies and literacy/language arts teacher in the Wellesley Middle School, where he also completed his administrative internship. He previously taught social studies in the middle school in the Concord and Rockport Public Schools.

-- Mark McAneny, principal of the Bishop Elementary School in Arlington. McAneny was to visit Ottoson on Thursday, Jan. 11. He has been principal of Bishop School since 2011. He was previously the assistant principal at Newman Elementary School in Needham, and was a grade three and four 4 teacher at the Amos A. Lawrence School in the Brookline Public Schools starting in 2002. His prior work experience includes service in the U.S. Marine Corps and in private business.

Woods has continued as interim following a failed search last spring for enough finalists for the permanent position. She is serving as a second time as interim principal.

The position opened up in July 2016, about a month after voters supported ballot questions, including one that deals with an overlarge middle school, and Timothy R. Ruggere, Ottoson's principal since 2009, said he was leaving. He is principal of Triton Regional High School in Byfield, near New Hampshire. 

Asked for details about the search, Bodie wrote July 3 that Dr. Laura L. Chesson, when she assistant superintendent here, chaired the committee and interviewed nine candidates among the 40 to 50 who applied.

The position was posted last January, and the search was closed last May, when the administration did not have three finalist candidates to move forward in the process.

July 1, 2016: Ottoson interim principal named, served at Dallin
July 5, 2016: Principal leaves expanding Ottoson to lead more rural high school

This news announcement was published Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, and updated Jan. 24.

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