May 19. 2013 9:20PM

Search for Goffstown middle school principal continues

Special to the Union Leader

GOFFSTOWN — The search for a principal to lead Mountain View Middle School has been narrowed to one candidate.

Wendy Hastings, currently the assistant principal at Londonderry Middle School, was the top finalist out of six interviewed and 18 total applicants, according to a release issued by the school district.

SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley, who is leaving the district, said the deal isn't complete yet, however.

The principal search committee will visit Hastings in Londonderry, and is expected to meet with several groups in Goffstown, including staff, students, and the community at a reception on Thursday at the school at 4:15 p.m.

The committee will review community feedback and Hastings will be interviewed by Buckley before the final decision is made.

"It's not a done deal until that process is complete," Buckley said. "There are still quite a few steps left in the process."

Prior to her work in Londonderry, Hastings was a physical education teacher at Goffstown's Villa Augustina School.

If hired, Hastings will replace Jim Hunt, who resigned in March after a controversial tenure, criticized by many for allegedly creating a dysfunctional and hostile work environment for some staff at the school, which houses nearly 900 students in grades five through eight, from Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton.

The day after Hunt's resignation, Dunbarton residents voted to discontinue their 40-year relationship with Goffstown, opting instead to educate their middle school and high school students in Bow.

The community meeting before Hastings completes the selection process is a slight departure from regular protocol, said School Board Chairman Dian McCarthy, adding that the board is going to great lengths to choose a candidate that will be a good fit for both the school and the community at large.

"The effort here is to be sure we have the input of all the stakeholders," she said. "This impacts the community as a whole."

McCarthy said if Hastings is not hired, the district is prepared to bring on an interim principal for next year.

"This is something we want to take a great deal of care with," she said. "We're looking to do this right."