HARVARD -- Bromfield School Principal James O'Shea is one of two finalists left standing in the search for a superintendent for Greenfield Public Schools.
O'Shea, who has been Bromfield's principal for eight years, will have a site visit and then an interview with the Greenfield School Committee next Tuesday as they make their final decision. The other finalist, Jordana Harper-Ewert, is a chief schools officer for Springfield Public Schools, a position that's part of the superintendent's leadership team.
Greenfield School Committee Member Margaret Betts said she visited Harvard two weeks ago and thought it was amazing.
"I thought that the school seemed really wonderful and everyone I spoke to had very positive things to say about Jim O'Shea," she said. "The other candidate we have had an equally positive site visit, so that's very exciting for us to have two candidates that people thought so highly of."
After next week's interview, the committee will have to deliberate in open session before making a decision, Betts said.
The two communities have their differences -- Betts noted that Greenfield has much more poverty than Harvard.
She said the school district is also struggling with school choice, as many families are choosing to go to neighboring school systems.
"I think that what Greenfield offers is an opportunity for someone to come in and really sort of make substantial changes, or positive moves," she said. "Whereas someplace like Harvard, it's sort of maintaining the status quo."
O'Shea's chances increased when two of the four finalists dropped out of the selection process, leaving just him and Harper-Ewert.
O'Shea said he has learned a lot from the great administration, teachers and students.
"I've learned a good deal in Harvard," he said. "I've had a great experience here and I've continued to."
Harvard Superintendent Joe Connelly said O'Shea does a terrific job.
"He has a very, very successful track record and I'm very happy for him," he said. "I'm not surprised that he's a finalist."
Things might get tricky if O'Shea is picked, however. Connelly said that most high school principal searches--a process that typically takes four months -- are completed at this point of the year.
"To be starting the search in May or June is not the opportune time," he said. "I'd hav to sit down and explore our options with the School Committee. There'll always be the possibility of an interim and then we could start a full search next year."
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