Deering principal to be considered as acting Portland superintendent

June 30 is the last day James Morse is contractually bound to be Portland’s school superintendent, and yet it’s unlikely the district will have his replacement chosen in time to step in on July 1.

The two finalists who came to visit with the public — Philadelphia assistant superintendent Emmanuel Caulk and Paterson, N.J., deputy superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wygaard — seemed to make good impressions. But although many of the early school department updates on the superintendent search suggested the whole process was set up with mid-June as the goal time for hiring the new school chief, School Board Chairwoman Kate Snyder told me after Vanden Wygaard’s public meet and greet that board members aren’t going to rush this decision.

Ira Waltz (Portland Public Schools photo)

Snyder said they’re not going to stick to an iron clad schedule to the detriment of their search, and at tomorrow night’s board meeting, they’ll consider naming Deering High School principal Ira Waltz as the acting superintendent from July 1 until either Aug. 31 or the arrival of Morse’s permanent replacement — whichever comes first.

According to a district announcement Monday, a decision in the superintendent search is “expected soon” — but not soon enough to avoid the installation of an interim administrator.

Here’s a couple of paragraphs of background on Waltz as provided by the district Monday:

Waltz has served as Deering’s principal since the summer of 2010.  He previously served as assistant superintendent of the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District from 2002 to 2010, and he held several administrative positions in the Scarborough schools.

Waltz worked as an administrator for the Portland Public Schools in the 1990s. He served as interim principal at Reiche Community School (1997-1998), Deering’s assistant principal (1996-1997) and as teaching principal at Peaks Island Elementary School (1993-1996).

Homework reading on the search to this point can be found herehere, here, here, and here, among other places on the BDN website.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.