BOE announces interim principal

Interim+Principal+James+DeSarno%0A
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BOE announces interim principal

Interim Principal James DeSarno

Interim Principal James DeSarno

Photo by photo by Colin Sumner

Interim Principal James DeSarno

Photo by photo by Colin Sumner

Photo by photo by Colin Sumner

Interim Principal James DeSarno

Lauren Oligino and Colin Sumner

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On April 30, the BOE named James DeSarno and Margaret McFadden as interim principal and acting assistant principal of WHS respectively, effective until June 30.

“In selecting Mr. DeSarno and Ms. McFadden, we considered candidates who could step in during these incredibly busy months at the high school and provide a seamless transition,” said Superintendent Margaret Dolan.

These appointments came after the untimely death of Dr. Derrick Nelson, who passed away last month while attempting to donate bone marrow to a teenager in France.

“[It’s] bittersweet,” said DeSarno on his appointment. “This is not the way anybody wants to step into the role. I really look at it as doing this for Dr. Nelson. I think it’s most important that the school continue on the path of his vision.”

McFadden, who retired last June from her job as assistant principal, has come back to WHS to help DeSarno with his increased workload until permanent replacements can be named.

“My responsibility right now is to help out Mr. DeSarno in any way I can,” said McFadden. “I have dealt with some discipline issues already. I’m helping Ms. Huynh with the schedule, and I’m going to pick up Mr. DeSarno’s caseload whenever he needs me to.”

For McFadden, the choice to return to WHS was an easy one. “When I got called and asked if I’d be willing to come back, the first thing that I thought about was if it were me, and I were here, and I had to try to carry on after Dr. Nelson’s death, I would want somebody that I know and trust to come back and help out instead of having to transition somebody brand new into the position. It was an easy decision, it really was.”

McFadden plans on going back into retirement after June 30, but until then, she wants to make an impact. “I’m going to try to connect with students. I’m going to try to connect with teachers and parents,” said McFadden. “My goal is to be visible, and my goal is to be a positive influence.”

Similarly, DeSarno is confident that WHS’ tradition will continue: “We have a tremendous teaching staff. The tradition of excellence starts with the instruction that our teachers provide and the guidance that we get throughout this entire building. That doesn’t come from this office, that comes from the rest of the building so that tradition continues.”

As for a permanent replacement for principal, “We are conducting a search to fill the positions,” Dolan said. “I am confident that we will find the right candidates. Right now, our primary focus is  making sure all of our students at WHS receive everything they need for May and June. I am grateful to Mr. DeSarno, assistant principals Mabel Huynh and Warren Hynes, and the entire staff at WHS who have worked very hard to ensure that the education of our students continues in the wake of the tragic death of Dr. Derrick Nelson.”