A Special Look into the Search for a New Vice Principal with Mr. Cantagallo


Rachel Westervelt, Writer

Earlier this year, Cranford High School said goodbye to their beloved vice principal, Mr. Roach, as he left to fill a principal position in another town. As the school looks to fill the now-empty spot, I checked in with the principal, Mr. Cantagallo, to learn more about how the process is going and where it is headed. Cranford High School is an excellent place to work, and Mr. Cantagallo recalled having over 170 applicants when the job opening for vice principal was first released in the fall. Sharing his own experience serving in various teaching and supervisor roles, Mr. Cantagallo pointed out that most applicants have prior experience in the education field, with the majority being former teachers, supervisors, or even principals. After the initial review, the lucky few who make it on to the second round of interviews are joined by a greater scope of advisors and assessed using questions gathered by various sources, including the PTA, CHS staff, and even the student advisory committee, to provide a well-rounded assessment. These candidates must also complete a writing prompt, where they respond to a mock email from a disgruntled parent, and are evaluated on a rating system or rubric. 

After this round, the remaining applicants are ranked, and the advisors begin conducting reference checks on their top candidates. Mr. Cantagallo emphasizes that he looks for references to be simultaneously excited to see their employee considered for the new role, but sorry to see them go. These reference checks are used as a conclusive factor before presenting the top candidate for approval at a meeting of the Board of Education. This final applicant must be known for their communication and relationship-building skills, as well as their passion for helping students, which will help them in their numerous roles in a vice principal position. At Cranford High School, these responsibilities often include, as Mr. Cantagallo says, “a little bit of everything,” ranging from organizing test taking, leading professional development, creating new initiatives, and promoting positive student behavior, all while fostering positive connections with kids.

With our time running short, I asked Mr. Cantagallo where in the process he and his fellow advisors are currently. To which he responded, trying not to get his hopes up, that they have a top candidate who they hope to get approved at the upcoming board meeting Monday, March 27. After months of intense outreach and interviewing, CHS may soon have a new vice principal.