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NORTHAMPTON — Finalists have been named for the principal position at Ryan Road Elementary School.

According to an announcement from Superintendent Portia Bonner, three candidates out of 15 applicants were selected by the Ryan Road Elementary Principal Search Committee to move forward to the second round of interviews, a school walkthrough and a community forum. The selection committee interviewed six candidates in the first round.

This process to select a principal comes on the heels of the School Committee’s recent decision to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with Rebecca LeBeau to serve as the interim principal of Ryan Road from March 11 until June 30.

According to the MOA, the appointment of LeBeau to interim was due to a “resignation/vacancy.” Karen Albano served as the principal of the school before that.

LeBeau, who is currently one of the three finalists for the principal position, has been in the Northampton Public Schools district for the last 12 years, serving as a physical education teacher, lead teacher and the Physical Education department chair at the elementary level. She is also a graduate of Springfield College, where she received a bachelor of science in physical education and a master’s in education.

The other two finalists for the position are Jessica Nardizzi and Maria Williams.
Nardizzi has served as the assistant principal/acting principal at Pelham Elementary School since 2021 and was a school counselor and 504 coordinator before that. She has a bachelor of arts in psychology from Wheaton College, a master of social work degree from New York University and CAGS in school administration policy and planning from University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Williams, meanwhile, is currently an adjunct professor at Cambridge College and a teacher in the Hartford school district. She served as an assistant principal in the Springfield school district for 13 years.

She has a bachelor’s in education and philosophy and a master’s in early childhood education from Westfield State University. She obtained a second master’s in education in Organization and Leadership from Endicott College and is currently part of a doctoral program that focuses on curriculum and instruction.

The search for a new principal at Ryan Road is also in the midst of the district’s search for a new principal after current principal William Wehrli announced his retirement at the end of the school year. Two candidates have moved on to the final interviews for that job including Ben Taglieri, an instructional technology specialist at Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District; and Jonathan Bruno, a multi-tiered system of support coordinator at Southern Berkshire Regional Schools.

Caregivers and community members will have a chance to meet the high school candidates on April 25 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium and the Ryan Road candidates on April 26 at 5:30 p.m. in the Ryan Road library.

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