By Anna Burgess
Sentinel & Enterprise
FITCHBURG — Martha Clark, currently the assistant principal at Memorial Middle School, will take over as principal of Reingold Elementary School next year.
At Monday night’s meeting of the School Committee, Superintendent of Schools Andre Ravenelle introduced Clark as the replacement for retiring Reingold Principal Kathy Brady.
Clark, who has been the assistant principal at Memorial for the past year, was chosen from more than 30 applicants by a search committee made up of Reingold parents, staff and other local educators.
Clark and Martha Wylie, the current assistant principal at Reingold, were the final two “great candidates,” Ravenelle said. Clark was ultimately chosen unanimously as Brady’s replacement.
“Martha brings an incredible level of enthusiasm to all of her work,” Ravenelle said. “She really loves Fitchburg and really wants to be principal of Reingold.”
Ravenelle added that the decision was “very well-received” by Reingold staff.
“I look forward to going into Reingold and continuing the work that Cathy has done,” Clark told the School Committee.
Despite only having lived in Fitchburg for a year, Clark said she and her family love the city and plan to stay.
“This is the last job I’m going to have,” she said.
Before coming to Memorial, Clark was a principal in North Carolina and Delaware for 10 years. Her experience as a principal and assistant principal “runs the whole gamut from preschool to high school,” Ravenelle said.
Applying for the principal position was “a difficult decision,” Clark said earlier Monday.
“I’ve only been here a year, and I’ve grown to love Memorial Middle School,” she said. “The staff is a very hard-working, dedicated staff, and I had very mixed emotions about applying to the position.
“However,” she added, “I have been a principal for 10 years, and I really wanted to go back to an elementary school. That’s where the majority of my experience is, and I love working at that level beyond all others.”
Clark said her first order of business as Reingold’s incoming principal is to get to know the school community. She hopes to meet with teachers and parents throughout the summer, as well as send out a survey to Reingold families to find out more about them.
Clark added that she plans to work with Brady this summer to ensure a smooth transition next year.
“They’ve got some great initiatives going on right now at Reingold,” she said. “I plan to look at what they’ve got going on now and what they’ve got in place for next year. I’m excited to build our family even stronger as we move forward (with) these curricular endeavors that have already started.”
At Monday night’s meeting, the School Committee also approved a $5.2 million school budget for fiscal 2016, funded by the city of Fitchburg, and approved spending of more than $1.2 million for schools using money from the school-choice program.
Items budgeted using school-choice funds include textbooks and instructional supplies; middle-school sports programs; new electronic exterior signs for Goodrich Academy and Fitchburg High School; Fitchburg High auditorium and gymnasium upgrades; a middle-school STEM Scholars Initiative; and a High School Massachusetts Math and Science Initiative.
The committee also honored Fitchburg High junior Ebony Fagan, who was named the Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster. Ebony, who was chosen for her leadership and character represented the local Boys and Girls Club during a recent ceremony at the Statehouse.
“Thank you for representing Fitchburg High and the city of Fitchburg,” Ravenelle told her.