PV principal search underway

First round of interviewing to end this week


Allison Varghese

2020-2021 Interim Principal Glenn deMarrais sitting in his office. DeMarrais was originally set to retire last school year.

Superintendent Erik Gundersen has begun the process of searching for a new Pascack Valley principal. He said that the first round of candidate interviews started during the first two weeks of March and will conclude by the end of this week. 

“Then the last two weeks of March we are going to bring together the semi-finalists, if you will, so we will take the group of first round interviewers and we’ll narrow it down for a second committee,” Gundersen said.

A survey regarding principal feedback was sent to parents, students, and staff on Feb. 11. The results showed that the community wanted a principal that would “promote positive culture and climate within the building,”Gundersen said.

Glenn deMarrais, the former principal of Pascack Hills, pushed back his retirement a year to help Hills’ sister school for the 2020-21 school year. Currently, PV is seeking out applicants who want to become its long-term principal.

With suggestions from administration at the school, Gundersen formed a committee to go over the results and help make recommendations for candidates during the first two weeks of March. Gundersen said that the committee will include some staff members, students, parents and a board member.

“[The committee members are] going to receive that survey feedback and make sure that when they are making recommendations after meeting the candidates, they are basing their recommendations not just on how they individually feel in response to the candidate, but are providing feedback on what is reflective of what our community wants,” Gundersen said.

Gundersen said that he is trying to make sure that the individuals involved in the principal search are “as objective as possible and are really looking at the overall best interest of the school district.”

Gundersen included that the individuals on the committee, along with those applying for the job, will be kept confidential for their own privacy. 

“We want to make sure that [the individuals’ names] that are applying for this position are held in confidence because some of these individuals may be sitting administrators in other districts, and it’s really not beneficial for them to have their name out there as applying for another job,” Gundersen said.

During the last two weeks in March a second committee will take over after the first round interviews have been completed. Gundersen explained that this committee will consist of different supervisors and administrators who would be working closely with the new principal. Then, the two finalists will meet with Assistant Superintendent Barry Bachenheimer and Gundersen to discuss who the final recommendation for principal to the BOE will be.

“I am looking for someone who is going to be able to walk into that position at Pascack Valley High School and make people feel really good about being at PV and generate some excitement about what comes next for [PV],” Gundersen said.

Gundersen hopes the final candidate that he will recommend to the BOE will meet with the board on April 12.

“The decision for selecting a principal is something I take very seriously. Working with this very objective and purposeful process of selecting a principal I believe that I am going to make my final recommendation on the person I believe is going to be the best candidate to move Pascack Valley forward,” Gundersen said.

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