ToquiNotes: Will BHS have Third Administrator this Year with Smith's Retirement? ... Here's the Lowdown

By Jeff Toquinto on August 19, 2017 from ToquiNotes via

It’s not as if the phone has rang off the hook, continual questions have been asked or messages via Facebook or text messaging have been in the hundreds. However, the inquiries have surged well into the double digits regarding the status of a new Bridgeport High School assistant principal.
As many know, long-time BHS Assistant Principal Mary Frances Smith submitted her notice that she was retiring to the Harrison County Board of Education Tuesday. The BOE formally approved the matter and Smith’s last day during school will be September 15.
Since most replacements of principals and other personnel take place during the summer months, there’s a bit of angst that Bridgeport will be down to just two principals for the year with Mark DeFazio and his assistant Matt DeMotto left to run the shop.
No worries folks. All is well.
According to Harrison County Schools Supervisor of Personnel Carole Crawford, the job is already posted. She said it was posted to the Harrison County Board of Education Web site Thursday.
“It will be posted for five days,” said Crawford. “At the end of that period, the interview process is done followed by a recommendation and approval by the board.”
DeFazio said he believes the new hire will be in place at the time of Smith’s departure or before. However, he did say the hiring process could be a little longer than usual.
“Hopefully, we can look at a day or two to do interviews, maybe even three. I don’t know what to expect, but I know the assistant job at Bridgeport Middle School had a whole lot of applicants so that may be the case here,” said DeFazio. “We probably could start those as early as (this) week, but what makes it difficult is missing out of a whole day of school for interviews with it being in the second week. We’ll figure it out. That I’m sure of.”
Crawford, who retired as the BMS principal to take the front office job at the county, knows very well the importance of transition. And she’s confident that there will a quality person in place before Smith leaves.
“I feel good that, at the latest, we’ll have someone in place coinciding with (Smith’s) retirement day. It will be somewhere in that range and we’d prefer to have someone there toward the middle to first part of September at the earliest.”
Like DeFazio, Crawford is expecting a significant number of applicants for the position. She said it’s typical for most administrative positions and Bridgeport’s jobs are usually attractive ones to bid on.
“This absolutely should draw a lot of applications and I’m basing that on personal experience and the recent number we had for the assistant’s job at Bridgeport Middle School,” said Crawford. “When you consider Mark DeFazio has a great school, a great staff and a community that is heavily involved in the school it should be a highly sought after position.”
DeFazio said the high school’s Faculty Senate will interview candidates as well. It’s their right to do, said DeFazio, and they’re exercising it.
“We’ll have them involved and after it’s all done a recommendation will be made,” said DeFazio. “I’m sure whoever comes out of this will be an excellent candidate.”
The candidates just can’t be anyone from the street. They have to have the proper licensure and it goes without saying they need to be in the education field.
Whoever is hired could create the same problem elsewhere. If a Harrison County administrator from another school bids on the job and gets it, that administrator will have to be replaced and if replaced by a person from the county system then that person would also need to be replaced on down the line.
“It possibly could create domino effect. We know it could be someone from another school and we also know there’s a possibility it could be an individual outside of the Harrison County system,” said Crawford. “We’ll soon find out.”
DeFazio is ready to get rolling. He said he wants what’s best for the school, the students and the school first. And further down the list, he said he’s got “my own selfish reasons” for getting the transition in place.
“Matt and I have a lot of activities I the fall and for the two of us to share what we’re responsible for along with what Mary Frances has covered is a lot more nights out. While the most important thing is the right person, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I haven’t thought of that,” said DeFazio with a laugh. “We’ll get this right and no one in the community needs to worry about us not getting it right. There’s too much on the line not to.”
Editor's Note: Top photo shows Mark DeFazio, while Carole Crawford is shown below at a recent Board of Education meeting.

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