Marblehead Interim Superintendent Finalist Withdraws Candidacy

MARBLEHEAD, MA — The Marblehead School Committee is down to one finalist candidate for the interim superintendent position for the 2024-25 school year after a second finalist chose to withdraw from consideration this week.

School Committee Chair Sarah Fox said on Thursday that when contacted to move forward with the process with a day-in-district interview and reference checks, Hingham Interim Director of Student Services Barbara Cataldo said she no longer wished to be considered for the interim position.

That leaves Swansea Public Schools Superintendent John Robidoux as the lone finalist candidate with Fox saying on Thursday night that plans are in place to travel to Swansea for a day-in-district on Wednesday and, if that goes well, move forward with feedback, reference checks and an invitation for Robidoux to come to Marblehead for a day to meet school staff, students and stakeholders.

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“So the process is moving along,” Fox said. “It’s a very thorough process. A lot of work goes into coordinating all of this.”

Fox said Cataldo said she would potentially seek to be a candidate for the permanent superintendent position when Marblehead begins that search in the fall.

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School Committee member Jennifer Schaeffner noted that even though the search is down to one finalist after Cataldo dropped out, it is a somewhat natural progression that began with nine applicants, four of whom were invited for public interviews, and then whittled to the two finalists.

“Some people were concerned about a candidate dropping out,” Schaeffner said. “What I have seen in my experience is that this is a process where that sometimes happens. There is a difference between only getting one candidate or having multiple candidates, then we narrow it down, and then sometimes there is some self-selection. There are a whole bunch of reasons for that.

“Sometimes in this process, you have a couple of candidates, final candidates, and sometimes you have one. Yes, we are fully hoping that this works out for everyone. We can also reopen the search if that is not the case.”

Fox added: “We will only put (an offer forward) if it’s someone who fits for us. That’s what we’ll move forward for. I still continue to be impressed with the caliber of candidates that we had. I know that looking around the state at other searches there have been some searches that had to be aborted because they just didn’t get candidates.

“So we got a lot of applicants, which was great.”

Robidoux has served as the superintendent of Swansea Public Schools since 2016 and has worked in that district since 2006. He told the School Committee in that town in the fall he would not seek a new contract when his contract expired at the end of this current school year.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education degrees from Providence College and is a Doctoral candidate at Lesley University.

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at X/Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

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