Flagged by his wife and many Portsmouth supporters Wednesday night, the Little Compton School Committee voted unanimously to hire João P. Arruda to be the new principal of Wilbur-McMahon School. He starts his three-year contract on July 1.
Arruda comes on after Principal Jim Gibney announced his resignation last month. Interim Principal and Curriculum Director Janet Griffith's last day is Friday.
Committee Chairman Don Gomez said Thursday morning that Arruda comes from the assistant principal post at Portsmouth Middle School, and has been involved with that school district for 28 years. Gomez said those from Portsmouth arrived to Little Compton last night to support Arruda's new job, although they were a bit surprised and sad to see him go. Arruda will go from a school of about 1,100 students to a school of about 300.
The principal search committee fielded 25 candidates, Gomez said, then quickly narrowed down to eight. On Monday, Gomez and Superintendent Kathryn Crowley interviewed two candidates and then made the offer to Arruda that afternoon.
"I think it'll all work," Gomez said. "We have the building project going on. That'll be unique for him."
Gomez noted there will be no immediate change to the job title of principal/curriculum director
"It’s part of the job," Gomez said. "If they need help, we’ll get you some help. We’re probably ahead of most of the state in developing the curriculum we need to develop, and material we need to supply or produce. Janet Griffith has been doing an outstanding job, and [she's] well liked. She worked really hard."
He added that Arruda lives in Taunton, MA.