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Kernan named next Richard Elementary Principal

As you know, Mary MacDonald-Barrett announced her retirement at the end of this school year. With that, we began an inclusive search process for the next instructional leader for Richard Elementary. Focus groups with staff and parents, and a stakeholder survey gathered input from a wide range of constituents. Richard parents and staff were also represented on the hiring committee that completed paper screenings, screener interviews, and full interviews with six semi-finalists. All of that information was presented to me. I interviewed two finalists from a very strong field of candidates, and made the final hiring recommendation to the board.

With board approval, which is anticipated July 23, I would like you to help welcome John G. Kernan as the next principal of Richard Elementary School. 

Mr. Kernan is currently a principal at Hunter Elementary School, Gibraltar. Prior to that, he was an Instructional Specialist for Birmingham Public Schools where he provided professional development and mentoring for staff, and developed and supported data-driven interventions for students. His teaching experience includes 4th grade in Birmingham, 2/3 in Clawson, and 3rd grade at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He has also served on strategic planning committees, assisted with the accreditation process, served on Positive Behavior Intervention and Support teams, coordinated the English as a Second Language (ESL) program, been the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) supervisor, and streamlined RTI services and process. In 2014, he presented Teaching Kids to Harness Technology to Solve Global Problems at the International Society for Technology in Education, Atlanta, GA.

Again, pending board approval, he will start August 1 in his new role. Mr. Kernan is excited and eager to start working with Richard students, families, staff, and the entire community. He said in the application process, “As a teacher and teacher-leader and now administrator, I have worked with my colleagues through professional development, mentoring and personal learning communities to create a school that cultivates stakeholder relationships and is focused on student achievement.”

Watch the Richard website and your email for information on welcoming activities closer to the start of the 2018-19 school year. Thank you for your help in this search process.


Dr. Gary C. Niehaus