PITTSFIELD -- The Pittsfield Public Schools will begin 2014 in search of three new principals.

Later this month, the school district will formally advertise the top jobs at Allendale and Conte elementary schools and Herberg Middle School, according to school Superintendent Jason "Jake" McCandless. The hope is to make hires before the school year ends in June.

"We're conducting three separate searches, but hypothetically someone could apply for all three if he or she has the right credentials," he said.

Currently, one principal position is vacant while another opens up today. A third becomes available at the end of the school year.

When the final bell rings this afternoon at Allendale, Carl Ameen wraps up 51 2 years at the helm and raising test scores at the elementary school. McºCandless said Ameen is leaving for a private-sector job and will be sorely missed.

"He worked hard and was committed to the students and staff," the superintendent said. "[Allendale] had some of the best growth in test scores in the district last [school] year."

Ameen deflected the praise saying the teachers and staff drive the Allendale's success, which includes fostering the students' love for reading.

"They've been willing to step up and take ownership school," he said.

Until Ameen's successor is found, McCandless has named veteran Allendale teacher Brenda Kelly the interim principal.

At Conte, Linda Avalle has been the interim principal since mid-August, replacing Anna-Stina Wardlaw. The Holyoke woman left after one year to become the interim principal at Norris Elementary School in Southampton.

Meanwhile, Herberg Principal Christopher Jacoby has notified school officials he plans to exit the district when the 2013-14 academic year ends in June.

Jacoby has led the middle school since the fall of 2001, first as the interim before he was named principal in June 2002.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233