EASTHAM — Nauset Regional High School Assistant Principal Patrick Clark has been named principal and will start on July 1.
School Supt. Brooke Clenchy announced her choice on March 14 after a six-week search from which Clark emerged as the only finalist. A search committee reviewed 11 applications and interviewed four people, but Clark was the only candidate the committee presented to the superintendent.
“He stood so far above the others,” particularly because of his 14 years as a high school principal and four years as an assistant principal, Clenchy said. None of the other candidates’ work histories came close to that, she added.
Clark is committed to Cape Cod, she said, and “has a vision” for where he would like to see Nauset High in three to five years, as well as a plan to get there.
Clark started last year at Nauset as one of two assistant principals. He will replace current Principal Chris Ellsasser, who is leaving at the end of this year because the administration offered him only a one-year contract — a sign, Ellasser said, that they do not support him.
Clark had problems, too, in his previous job as principal of Barnstable High School. In September 2020 Supt. Meg Mayo-Brown placed him on leave, reportedly because of how he handled the hybrid reopening of school following the Covid-19 quarantine. Clark, who had been principal at Barnstable for 10 years, then resigned.
Mayo-Brown did not respond to requests for comment on those events. But Clenchy said, “We vetted Patrick very well and feel comfortable moving forward.”
The search committee was made up of two school committee members who are also parents, Chris Easley and Laura Baghetti; two parents, Wendy Sue Kissa and Meika Wahlstrom; two students, Sarah Needel and Sophia Easley; three teachers, Ariana Kmiec, Jennifer Stevens, and Robert LaBranche; and Nauset Educational Assistant Alana Collins and Special Education Coordinator Erin Sullivan. Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Robin Millen and Director of Student Services Mary Buchanan co-chaired the committee.
Millen denied a previous request for the names of the search committee members because, she said, they had not been notified that their names would be made public.
“It is an exciting opportunity,” Clark told the Independent on March 15. “The school is in such great shape. There is an outstanding faculty. With the new remodel project, it will be a state-of-the-art facility. And the parents are supportive of quality education.”
Clark, who is 49, began his career at Nauset High. He taught history and social sciences there for nine years after graduating from Stonehill College in 1994. He became assistant principal of Sandwich High School in 2003, was named principal at Wareham High School in 2006, and became Barnstable High’s principal in 2010. He has a master’s degree in educational leadership and management, Clenchy said.