Rice named principal for NWMS

NAPPANEE — The search for NorthWood Middle School’s next principal has ended, with the path coming full circle and leading right back to Wakarusa.
Current assistant principal Bart Rice was chosen to be the successor to outgoing principal George Roelandts during the Monday, May 13, evening session of the Wa-Nee schools board.
Rice will be committed to a two-year contract, which begins on July 1 and extends through June 30, 2015.
Shortly after Roelandts announced his intention to retire at the close of the 2012-13 school year, a committee was formed to screen potential candidates for the position.
The group met for the first time on April 24, a gathering which included eight staff members from NorthWood Middle School, along with Superintendent Joe Sabo and Director of Curriculum Jim Bennett.
One of the committee members, sixth-grade teacher Tom Bennett, shared some specifics with the board as to how the selection process was executed.
Twelve individuals had expressed an interest in being considered for the job.
“It was a well thought out, thorough process,” Bennett said.
He explained that a school-wide meeting was held to receive suggestions on primary qualities that the new principal should possess. Among those attributes named were leadership, a commitment to scholastic instruction, discipline and student improvement.
“As we continued meeting, it became evident that a frontrunner was clearly emerging,” Bennett said.
By the time the interview process was completed on May 6, “it was with confidence that we shared our choice on who would be a great leader for our school,” Bennett said.
That sentiment was shared by Sabo, who noted, “Mr. Rice comes highly recommended, and will be an excellent leader for the NorthWood Middle School staff and community.”
The board subsequently gave a unanimous recommendation to the hiring of Rice, who offered his gratitude to his outgoing mentor.
“The biggest thing I had going for me was working with George and the staff for the past four years,” Rice said. “It was a very easy decision to put my name in the hat.”
Members of the board proceeded to render their affirmative decision with smiles and applause.
“It’s great to know that the best candidate was the one we already had,” board President Eric Brown said.