Published in the August 1, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — With just over five weeks before local students return to class, the School Department has announced the filling of two elementary school principal positions.

Superintendent Dr. Kim Smith announced today that Elaina Byrne is the new Walton School principal, and current Wakefield Memorial High School assistant principal Terrence “TJ” Liberti has been named as interim principal at the Dolbeare School. Both are expected to begin serving in their new positions on Aug. 14.

“It is with great enthusiasm that I announce the appointment of Ms. Elaina Byrne as the next Principal of the Walton School,” Smith said in a message to parents this morning. Byrne will replace Geraldine Hammond as head of the West Side elementary school.

The decision to appoint Byrne came after three rounds of interviews, feedback from the Walton community, a “meet and greet” session with faculty, parents and students and a thorough vetting of references, Smith said.

Byrne most recently served as a principal of a K-5 school in Beverly. Spanning 13 years as a teacher, Byrne taught Grade 1 and Grade 4, and also worked as a Moderate Special Needs teacher in Grades 3 to 5, specializing in supporting children with social/emotional/behavioral needs. She earned a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Educational Leadership from Salem State University, a master of Education as a Teacher of Students with Special Needs from Wheelock College and a bachelor of science degree in Psychology from UMass Amherst.

“Byrne brings her education, leadership experience and resonating core values to the Walton School community,” Smith said.

Liberti is expected to serve as interim Dolbeare principal for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, replacing Dr. Maureen Hughes.

“I have decided that it is in the best interest of the Dolbeare School to appoint an Interim Principal at this time,” Smith said. “Mr. Liberti’s appointment provides us with the opportunity to seek the next Dolbeare principal at time of year (January to March 2018) when we will have the widest/deepest range of candidates and options before us. I am excited for the opportunity this affords us and fully confident for the coming school year.”

Liberti is currently an assistant principal at Wakefield Memorial High School and a 14-year educator in the Wakefield Public Schools.

“Terence Liberti Jr. is an excellent match for this role and has enthusiastically accepted the appointment,” Smith said. “He is a knowledgeable school leader with extraordinary people skills and administrative experience to share with the Dolbeare community. Mr. Liberti has a robust background in teaching and learning, school management and operations, Special Education and student support services. He actively engages parents, is an excellent communicator, and is experienced in developing a positive school culture grounded in shared core values. Mr. Liberti will adeptly steer the Dolbeare School forward supported by our new assistant principal Michelle Ofilos and an exceptionally strong faculty, literacy and math coaches and Parent Teacher Organization.”

The selection process yielded three finalists for the two principal positions. In addition to Byrne, Carolyn Shediac from the Arlington public schools and Juliana Schneider from the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District also made it to the final round.