At the recommendation of incoming Vineyard schools superintendent Matthew D’Andrea, the all-Island school committee will tap Oak Bluffs School principal Richard Smith to replace Mr. D’Andrea as assistant superintendent.

The committee voted at its meeting Wednesday to offer the position to Mr. Smith, shortly after contract negotiations for the superintendent position were completed.

Both men were finalists for the superintendent job, which was offered to Mr. D’Andrea last month.

“Through this whole process we spent a lot of time together and we got to know each other,” Mr. D’Andrea told the committee. “We actually grew closer because we were the [final] two candidates. I grew to respect him tremendously. He’s very, very qualified, as you all know.” He said he had spoken with Mr. Smith about the possibility and that Mr. Smith had expressed an interest in the job.

Citing Mr. Smith’s experience at the Oak Bluffs School as well as the Tisbury School, Mr. D’Andrea said the most important decisions he would make as superintendent would be hiring personnel.

“We need someone who has experience working with teachers, bringing them together, collaborating, getting things done,” he said.

Going through a lengthy search process to fill the job would put the Oak Bluffs School at a disadvantage in terms of finding a new principal.

“I’d rather have this happen sooner so we can find the right person for that job,” Mr. D’Andrea said. “We know we have someone right here who is qualified for the position and would put our students first.”

All three members of the Oak Bluffs school committee supported the idea despite the fact that it would mean losing their principal.

“It’s truly the entire district’s gain if Richie joins you,” Lisa Reagan said.

Robert Lionette suggested that there was value in going through the search process, but Colleen McAndrews pointed out that the committee had codified the assistant superintendent job recently, while in the process of hiring Mr. D’Andrea.

“I could see if it had been a while since we had an assistant superintendent, but what would have changed since we hired Matt?” she said.

The committee voted unanimously to approve Mr. D’Andrea’s recommendation. The position of assistant superintendent will still need to be posted in order to comply with teacher contract regulations because it is an advancement position, superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss said.

“I’m not making this decision because it’s faster...I’m making this decision because it’s better for every student on this Island,” Susan Mercier said.