Seekonk school superintendent search narrowed to three finalists

SEEKONK — Three finalists have been selected in the search to replace departing School Superintendent Rich Drolet, it was announced Tuesday.

The finalists are Ware Superintendent Marlene DiLeo, Rockland Assistant Superintendent Rebecca Kidwell, and Wareham Assistant Superintendent Andrea Schwamb.

Drolet, who has been overseeing local schools since 2018, is leaving June 30 to become the next superintendent of King Philip schools, replacing retiring Superintendent Paul Zinni there.

The finalists will be visiting local schools, and school committee members are scheduled to interview the candidates May 18. A vote on a new superintendent is expected at the May 22 school board meeting.

“During our search for the next superintendent of Seekonk Public Schools, we ensured that the voices of our community members were included in the process so that our finalists represented the wants and needs of those that they will be representing,” said School Committee Chairwoman Meaghan Mahoney, who also is heading the search committee. “We are confident that these three finalists embody the skills and expertise that are needed and requested by our school community members to lead our district, and we look forward to announcing our appointee in the coming weeks.”

DiLeo has worked as a school administrator in Ware public schools for 15 years, the last eight years as superintendent. Before that, she served as a high school and elementary school principal. She has also worked in Holyoke schools as a district health education coordinator, elementary school assistant principal and principal.

Kidwell has served as assistant superintendent of Rockland schools since 2021. She led the district review, adoption and implementation process and district-designed resources for literacy and writing. Kidwell had held several positions within Braintree schools, including director of technology and accountability, interim director of curriculum and technology, director of English, Reading and English Learner Education, and as an English teacher.

Schwamb has served as assistant superintendent of Wareham schools since 2014. In that role, she’s been responsible for instruction assessments, professional development, evaluation, and strategic and school improvement. Before joining Wareham public schools, Schwamb served as an assistant principal in the Falmouth and Duxbury school systems.

The search committee was formed in late March with assistance from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. The 13-member committee includes other school committee members, parents, teachers, school administrators, and town officials.

The committee kicked off the search process with a survey as part of their community engagement efforts. The committee received 87 responses expressing desires for the next superintendent. The committee also hosted an in-person listening session at the high school in April that was facilitated by MASC to seek additional input.

After advertising, the school district received 18 applications for superintendent.

Seven preliminary interviews were conducted the first week of May, and after the first round of interviews with those semi-finalists, the search committee selected the three finalists.

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