Published Date Written by David CarkhuffOn Tuesday, June 26, Ira Waltz, principal at Deering High School, will be tapped to fill the role of acting superintendent of Portland schools, effective July 1.
The district has spent about nine months looking for a replacement for James Morse Sr., who officially ends his contract as superintendent of Portland Public Schools on July 1.
Two finalists have been named for the job of superintendent for the state's largest school system — Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, deputy superintendent of the Paterson Public School System in New Jersey, located in northern New Jersey, 18 miles west of New York City; and Emmanuel Caulk, an assistant superintendent in Philadelphia's school system. Both paid visits to the Portland school district, met with the public and hosted school board members on exploratory visits to their districts.
Kate Snyder, chair of the Portland school board, in a memo to board members, urged creation of a transition team as the school district begins its "transition to new district leadership whether in the form of a permanent hire or a one-year interim."
"I recommend that we view this changeover as an opportunity for the Portland Board of Public Education to provide support to our new leadership in the form of a Transition Team that would ease, assist and engage with our new leadership throughout the transition stage in order to support success," Snyder wrote.
On Tuesday, the school board will meet in Room 250 at Casco Bay High School, after a scheduled executive session by board members at 6 p.m. for discussion of the search for a new superintendent.
During the business meeting immediately following the closed executive session, new business on the agenda includes "consideration and action to appoint Ira Waltz Acting Superintendent of Schools commencing July 1, 2012, and to authorize the Chair to execute a Letter of Agreement setting forth the terms of the appointment."
In an email message Friday, Waltz told The Sun that he takes the position of interim superintendent seriously.
"I am very appreciative and honored that the School Committee selected me to be acting superintendent for Portland Public Schools," he wrote. "I have been a resident in Portland for nearly twenty years and realise the importance of this position and the impact it has on our students, staff, community and city. Although my time may be brief, I will continue to work hard supporting PPS's vision and mission. I bring to this position, a will to continue to improve our system thus making our students better prepared to compete in our global society."