Less than a month after current Blake Middle School principal, Robert Parga, was named the next principal of Medfield High School, Superintendent of Schools Bob Maguire found Parga’s replacement: Nathaniel Vaughn, Blake Middle School Dean of Students.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to have [Vaughn] come [to the May 2 School Committee meeting] to introduce him publicly as the new middle school principal,” said Maguire. “I know he doesn’t need much introduction to members of the school committee, given the fact that Nat has been a long time employee of the district, both as a math teacher and a dean at the middle school.”
Vaughn, who has 13 years of educational experience in Medfield, most recently as Dean of Students at Blake, was publicly announced as the next principal of the middle school at Monday’s School Committee meeting.
“Since the first day I interviewed [in Medfield] I cannot imagine being in a more supportive, student-centered environment and I knew right away this was the place to be,” said Vaughn. “I feel very blessed to be part of the Blake community, it sounds very cliché but it is a very special place. Every day we look to do what we can to provide the best education for the students in the best learning environment and I’m looking forward to bringing that forward and all the opportunities that come in that regard.”
Maguire said while he took an “unusual” approach in not forming a search committee to find the next middle school principal, the decision still went through a process and at the end of that process, it was clear Vaughn was the best candidate for the position.
“Basically made the decision to appoint [Vaughn] directly after completing the search process for the high school principal,” said Maguire. “I did take it through a little bit of a process. After we appointed the principal [of the high school] through the search process I took about a week or so to gather some information and certainly [Vaughn] because of his background and excellent service of the district was a very strong candidate but at the same time I really wanted to think things through.”
Maguire said it was at a middle school faculty meeting he held where the decision to appoint Vaughn became an easy one, further supporting his own personal feelings and beliefs of Vaughn as an individual.
“I left that meeting really feeling like I had been sold and it was very clear to me that the faculty was very strong in their sense [of Vaughn],” Maguire said.
Options were discussed at the faculty meeting but Maguire said members of the middle school were “pretty unanimous” in their endorsement of Vaughn as the next principal.
“I don’t think it was 20 seconds into [the meeting] when one of the staff members looked at me and said ‘Bob, you should just appoint Nat.’ Numerous people [were] giving me the same information,” said Maguire. “I kind of shifted the conversation to why? I almost wish I had Nat there because the types of things that were said about him … if at the end of my career my legacy was they were saying the things about me that they were saying about Nat, I would be a happy man.”
Vaughn and Parga were not present at the meeting upon Maguire’s request to enable an open and free discussion about the vacancy at the principal position. The discussion that took place was overwhelming praise and respect for their colleague.
“They talked about his integrity, talked about his work ethic, talked about how much he cares about the schools,” Maguire said. “There were numerous comments about how much he cares about the kids. The respect that they have for him and while they may not always agree with him they truly respect him. When he makes a decision he really thinks things through and takes the time to make the best decision possible. It just went on and on and on.”
Maguire said many people in the community were reaching out, encouraging him to appoint Vaughn and it has been nothing but positive feedback since the decision was made.
“People are excited about his appointment to be the principal of the middle school,” Maguire said. “[I’m] really excited about it. Got a good team and this certainly is keeping it solid and moving it forward.”
Vaughn, too, voiced his excitement for the opportunity.
“When the opportunity came up and I talked to Bob and tried to convey how deeply invested I am in this school and this community and how it really feels like it is a big part of me,” said Vaughn. “I’m deeply invested and looking forward to every opportunity that is truly honored. I am really forward to it.”
School Committee chair Tim Bonfatti said Vaughn was an ideal candidate for the position because of his experience in the district and middle school.
“It’s a home run for us,” Bonfatti said. “The fact that [Vaughn] understands the school really well is something that we are very fortunate [to have].”
Maguire said the benefit of promoting within the school district is it allows for a much smoother and quicker transition.
“The nice thing is I have [Vaughn and Parga] working on the [transition already],” said Maguire. “Robert has been spending time working with Judy [Noble] already and Nat in his role is able to begin his work. In a normal circumstance, these folks wouldn’t be coming until July. We are way ahead of the game in terms of being able to hit the ground running very smoothly into next year.”