Two WHS Associate Principles Are Finalists for Principal Job

Published by Chris Wangler- February 27, 2021.

Will an internal candidate be hired as the new principal of Waltham High School? Two of the three finalists currently work at WHS.
A release from Waltham Schools said an 18-member screening committee interviewed 9 WHS principal candidates and named three finalists: Darrell Braggs, Michael James and Brenda Peña.
Peña and Braggs were both hired as associate principals (formerly called housemasters) at Waltham High School in 2017.
A Waltham native, Brenda Peña graduated from WHS in 1998. The Waltham Schools release said she has served as a school social worker in Lynn, a dean of students in Salem and a school adjustment counselor for the Waltham Public Schools.
Along with her position as a WHS associate principal, Peña is an Influence 100 fellow, a program facilitated by the state’s department of education. Peña holds a Master of Education in educational leadership and speaks Spanish fluently.
Also a WHS associate principal, Darrell Braggs is originally from upstate New York and holds a Master of Education in organizational management.
He formerly worked at Framingham High School, where he taught history for 11 years and was also a football coach. His experience includes creating a successful afterschool tutoring program for struggling students and mentoring at-risk minority students.
The third finalist, Michael James, has 16 years of school leadership experience in the state of Colorado, according to the Waltham Schools release. Before becoming an administrator, he taught world languages for 8 years.
After serving as an assistant principal, he was hired in 2014 as a principal in Edgewater CO. James holds a Master of Education degree in educational administration and is fluent in Spanish and French.
Waltham schools superintendent Brian Reagan is expected to make a decision on the new WHS principal by March 15, with a start date of July 1, said the release.
The search for a new WHS principal has been anything but routine.
Former principal Greg DeMeo retired in June 2018. Since then, the job has been held by an interim principal, Paul Maiorano, who announced his retirement in January.
The last time a screening committee came up with a list of finalists for the job, the former superintendent, Drew Echelson, rejected them, opting to keep Maiorano in the job.
The controversial decision earned a loud rebuke from educators in the Waltham teachers’ union, who appeared in numbers to complain to the school committee.
2017 file photos: Darrell Braggs (left) and Brenda Peña (right).