Principal finalist chosen after committee search


Brianna Tang

Sean Bevan is the final candidate for principal starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The community will have a chance to join a Zoom call to ask him questions this Tuesday.

Jenny Lambert, Sports Editor

After a process involving two search committees, Superintendent Gregory Martineau announced on Tuesday, April 28 that Sean Bevan, the current principal at Westwood High School and a former Algonquin English teacher, has been selected as the finalist for next year’s principal position.

Current principal Dr. Sara Pragluski Walsh announced her contract was not renewed and she will not be returning to Algonquin next school year in an email on Feb. 26. Walsh says she will miss the inclusive activities at Algonquin.

“The most amazing aspect of Algonquin that I will miss is the school’s inclusivity and peer support,” Walsh said in an interview via email. “Every day, every period, every moment I witnessed, engaged in, was able to foster students accepting one another, including each other and paying acts of kindness forward.” 

Bevan has been principal at Westwood High School since 2011, and prior to that, he taught English, advised The Harbinger and was an assistant baseball coach at Algonquin from 2002-2009. 

Bevan identifies himself as an “experienced, dedicated, and enthusiastic school leader with a track record of leveraging strong strategic planning and interpersonal skills to ensure that rigorous academic success is attainable for all students.”

According to Martineau, Bevan was chosen for the leadership and knowledge he has in working with students.

“Members of the Screening Committee were impressed with Mr. Bevan’s leadership and understanding of students,” Martineau said in an email addressed to parents, guardians and students. “Mr. Bevan brings to the district a deep level of experience as an administrator in a high performing district.”

According to Director of Human Resources Heather Richards, the district began the search for a new principal when they posted an advertisement about the position on Feb. 28. At the same time, they formed the first search committee by reaching out to interested students, staff, parents, administration and members of the school community.

The first committee reviewed resumes and developed interview questions based on the job description and feedback from stakeholders collected via surveys. Then, they decided who they wanted to interview out of the 25 candidates.

“We [were] looking for an experienced leader who builds professional and community connections,” Richards said in an interview via Zoom.

Junior Gabby Brudner was a member of the first search committee and was glad members were able to agree on the qualities they wanted in a principal.

“We really looked for great communication skills, great problem solving skills, someone who was willing to work as a team and knows that they are part of a team,” Brudner said in an interview via FaceTime. “We all wanted someone who showed a lot of compassion for kids and mental health and was very aware of things going on today. I think we all agreed on what we wanted, which was really great.”

After conducting interviews, the first committee selected three candidates to move forward to the semi-finalists stage. The second committee consisted of a few newly selected members and some of the same members from the first committee. However, students were not members of this committee. 

Members of the second committee interviewed the semi-finalists and ultimately chose one candidate, Bevan, as a finalist to engage in a webinar on Tuesday, May 5 at 8:40 AM. Stakeholders can ask him questions to learn more about him. 

Richards encourages student, parent, faculty and community participation in the webinar and asks that you RSVP and send recommended questions to her at [email protected] in advance.

In her final year at Algonquin, Walsh shares her hopes for the school’s future.

“I hope the next leader loves Algonquin the way I do and embraces both the traditions and the new exciting changes that keep T-Hawk pride alive,” Walsh said via email. “Above all, I hope everyone is healthy, happy and that their future aspirations come true.”