The Edgartown School is set to have a new principal by the end of the week, Vineyard schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said yesterday.

Mr. Weiss and the school committee will decide between two finalists selected from a pool of five semi-finalists who were interviewed last week.

The finalists are Richard Hamasian, an assistant principal in Connecticut, and John Stevens, a principal in Florida.

"Based upon their experience and the things they brought to the table, I thought they were most appropriate for the final two," Mr. Weiss said. He said he was looking for someone with "ability not only to handle the job, but the political part, the financial part - all the things that go with being a principal. We really wanted someone with experience in this position."

Parents of students at the Edgartown School are invited to meet both candidates at the school tomorrow. Mr. Hamasian will be available from 11:15 a.m. to noon, and Mr. Stevens will be available from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. The candidates will also spend time meeting teachers and students at the school.

The school committee hired the New England School Development Council (NESDC) to conduct a nationwide search for applicants after a local search that began in December yielded no finalist in March. The search produced 28 candidates, which the superintendent and school committee narrowed to seven. Two withdrew from the search before interviews began last week.

"We ended up with five semi-finalists and I think they were excellent candidates. It was hard to make a decision," Mr. Weiss said.

He estimated that as many as 50 people attended the interviews - mostly teachers and also some parents.

"I got a lot of good feedback from them," he said. "I probably got 50 e-mails since Wednesday night when we did the final interviews."

Mr. Hamasian is the assistant principal of the largest elementary school in Meriden, Conn., with 800 students.

Mr. Stevens is principal of a 2,200-student high school in Lantana, Fla., and has prior experience in the middle school and elementary school levels. He grew up in Edgartown, graduated from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School and has been a lifelong summer resident of Edgartown, where he owns a home.

"We'll get more input from people and hopefully make a decision by the end of the week," Mr. Weiss concluded.