LEICESTER, Mass. — After interviewing three candidates for the position of Leicester school superintendent Tuesday night, the School Committee moved Judith Paolucci and Marilyn Tencza to the next round in the process.
The Superintendent Search Committee last week narrowed its choices to three applicants: Paolucci, a superintendent of schools in Yarmouth, Maine; Tencza, current curriculum director at Leicester Public Schools; and Karol Coffin, a principal at Wamsutta Middle School in Attleboro.
All three went before the school committee Tuesday for an open and televised interview, answering the same 17 questions on their backgrounds, experiences and goals for Leicester.
After deliberations, all five committee members said Paolucci should move on to the next round of interviews and possible site visits, with four voting to have Tencza also continue. Although two members voted to see Coffin continue, the committee decided to narrow the candidates to the top two choices.
Before serving as a superintendent in Maine, Paolucci spent most of her career in Rhode Island as a science teacher before becoming an administrator. She also worked as executive director at a professional development center, where she said she helped teachers become better educators.
School Committee member Mark Armington said he was impressed by Paolucci — the only candidate with superintendent experience — and said she was well-rounded.
"Yarmouth is a very high-performing school district and has done some very interesting things, not just in technology but just in the way they work with the towns," he said.
Committee member Deborah LaBombard said she loved Paolucci's enthusiasm, recalling a point she had made about learning to use new technology herself "to set a culture and a tone for the district."
Tencza, who graduated in May from Boston College with a doctorate in educational leadership, began her career as a humanities teacher at St. Peter Marian. Later, she taught French and Spanish at North High School in Worcester. She is also an adjunct professor at Worcester State University and Boston College.
School Committee member Scott Broskey said he liked that Tencza was already in the Leicester school system as curriculum director and "knows everybody and is working well with everybody."
Committee member Larry Spaulding agreed, liking her ideas about building relationships in the community and creating transparency. He said he appreciated her background in curriculum development, which has been a focus of the board.