LIVERMORE FALLS – A search committee is preparing to go into its second round of applications from candidates interested in being Livermore Falls High School principal.

In the meantime, SAD 36 Superintendent Terry Despres is acting principal and expects to be in that leadership role as students start school at the end of August.

Some candidates were lost during the first round of applications when they took other jobs.

The district readvertised and now has seven applications, Despres said Wednesday.

The search committee made up of one administrator, staff, school board members and parents is about ready for the second round, he said.

Despres said he has removed himself from the committee.

“My role is to review credentials of the applications,” he said, before submitting the applications to the committee for review.

He also has two college professors who review the credentials with him, he added.

These professors are part of the development of new administrators and have connections with the schools.

They really give a good insight, he said.

“This (search) committee is being very careful. They know how important the selection is and want to make sure the candidates are compatible with the student body and community,” Despres said.

He doesn’t expect a new principal to be on board before the beginning of school. Even if a candidate is chosen, he said, he or she will most likely have to give notice to the school system they’re currently working in.

With that in mind, Despres is embracing the staffs’ energy preparing for the new year and looking forward to being part of opening day and greeting students.

“I’m excited about how well the staff has responded,” he said. “It is a good opportunity for me to learn more about our students and have them know me.”

Despres expects to be spending most of his time at the high school when school starts until a new administrator is found.

The leadership council at the high school is on SAD 36 directors’ agenda to be appointed at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, during their regular meeting.

Three staff members and an assistant principal given a stipend – someone who already works for the district and will take this position on as well – will be named, he said.

As acting principal, Despres will also be on the council until a new principal takes over.

Directors eliminated the position of a full-time assistant principal, a position formerly held by Bill Schenck, this spring. Former Principal Rod Wright announced his retirement earlier this year.

Being in the role of principal/superintendent is not new for Despres.

He held the dual role for 10 years in SAD 32 in Ashland.

“I know what the job needs and know what it’s going to take,” he said.

He believes it will be good for him and the district.

“My hope is to make it as robust and attractive to anybody who wants to be part of our schools,” Despres said.

Currently, staff are working on efforts to raise student aspirations and have an opening day presentation they’re preparing to help students look to their future. There will be an aspiration board that will show what former students have done with their lives. Alumni will also speak to students about their careers and what it took to get them there.

It’s just part of the energy he sees in the district.

“I’m excited about it. I see it as a message going out to the community that these are our schools,” Despres said.

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