With extreme regret and “hoping she’ll change her mind,” the regional high school committee accepted principal Margaret (Peg) Regan’s resignation on Monday night and made some decisions on how to proceed with the search process for a new principal for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.
“It’s been a wonderful opportunity, a great pleasure and privilege,” Mrs. Regan told the committee. “I couldn’t feel more positive about the school and the student body . . . I couldn’t leave the school if I didn’t know it was in good hands.”
In her ninth year at the high school, Mrs. Regan submitted her letter of resignation to the superintendent on Monday, Sept. 24.
“Peg was the senior principal on the Island because everyone else had left,” superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said. “This leaves Diane Gandy as the most senior.”
Ms. Gandy became principal of the Chilmark School in 2004.
After much discussion, the committee decided to handle the search process for a new principal in-house and not hire a consultant. Consultants can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $30,000, Mr. Weiss told the committee.
The Edgartown School spent $10,000 to $12,000 on advertising and a search consultant, New England School Development Council, for its recent principal search, Mr. Weiss said.
Mr. Weiss praised the work the council did for the Edgartown School, but said it is work that the school system is capable of doing on its own.
The regional high school did not use a consultant in its last principal search. Both Mrs. Regan and the new assistant principal, Neal Weaver, recalled that they learned about their positions through job listings in the trade magazine Education Week.
Advertising will begin this fall. Mr. Weiss suggested that initial screenings of applicants be done by Jan. 1 with interviews in February and finalist interviews in March, with an eye toward hiring someone by April or May.
School committee member John Bacheller of Tisbury asked whether there were in-house candidates. Mr. Weiss replied yes, he would think so.
The school committee also accepted the resignation of Spanish teacher Amy Hewitt, who came to the school last year.
In other business, Mrs. Regan told the committee that the residents of Deer Run — the housing development beside the high school — say they are plagued by noise coming from the high school’s wind turbine, which went up last spring.
“They called me this week to say they would like to have the wind tower moved,” Mrs. Regan said. The residents asked that the turbine at least be restricted to running during school hours, she said.
The wind turbine has not been a noise nuisance for anyone at the school, Mrs. Regan said.
In a letter to the committee dated April 2, Tori Lane resident T. George Davis Jr. said a real estate agent had estimated that his property value had decreased with the view of the turbine.
Mr. Weiss said he would follow up with the residents and likely schedule a site visit with members of the school committee and someone from South Mountain, which built the wind turbine.
The committee also heard from Amy Tierney, the assistant to the superintendent for business affairs, about bids on a new bus fleet.
Mrs. Tierney said she is happy that the school’s seven-year-old bus fleet is in good condition, because she has not felt comfortable with any of the bids so far. By law, school buses must retire after 10 years.
While the main bus fleet could run another three years, there is a more pressing need to replace two special education short buses, which are $55,000 each. If the school could find the money to purchase those two buses, it would buy some time, Mrs. Tierney said.
The brand of bus, the engine and the trade-in value for the old buses have all been at issue, she said.
The Vineyard Transit Authority, which operates the school buses, “is very concerned about the engine they get. They want the right diagnostics and mechanics,” Mrs. Tierney said. “Edgartown bought a Thomas [brand] bus that’s been a problem since the day they bought it. Switches are breaking off in the driver’s hands.”