Haverhill's Consentino School to get new principal as Mele steps down to become assistant

TIM JEAN/Staff photoConsentino School Principal John Mele places a Chromebook computer into the back of a parent's vehicle outside the school as the coronavirus crisis forced students several weeks ago to begin using the devices for remote learning.

HAVERHILL — Students and staff at Consentino School can expect to see a new principal this fall, although their current principal says he hopes to continue working there in a different role.

John Mele, who has been in charge of the Consentino for seven years and also served as assistant principal there for three years before that, said he decided to step down to his former position to spend more time with his family. 

"I think this change is good for me personally and good for the staff," Mele said of his return to an assistant principal position. "Every once in a while it's good to change things up a bit and I think this change in my role will benefit the whole school community. 

"Moving forward, I will still have the benefit of working with so many loving and caring people at Consentino School," he said.

School principals are hired by the superintendent and are not protected by a union, although assistant principals are part of a union, school officials said.

In a letter to parents, Mele said Superintendent Margaret Marotta understands that he wishes to continue to serve the Consentino community as an associate or assistant principal for the remainder of his career. 

"This is a request that she has told me and the School Committee that she would honor to the best of her ability," Mele said. "While we do not know exactly what the transition will look like, we know that we will be exploring options with the superintendent in the coming days and weeks to ensure that the growth and successes the school has experienced over the past few years continues without interruption."

Mele said it was not an easy decision to make, but that it's the right move for him and his family.

At the end of the 2013 school year, Mele was an assistant principal at Consentino under Principal Stephen Sierpina, who later left Haverhill to become principal of a school in Methuen. Then-Superintendent James Scully named Mele to run the Consentino.

Marotta said she is looking at several options for replacing Mele and expects to post the job in the next few days, potentially as an interim position for the upcoming school year. 

"Mr. Mele has developed many strong relationships with students and staff and families over the years and I believe his continued involvement at the Consentino will be positive in this time of so many unknowns," she said.

Mele received his bachelor degree in English from Merrimack College and a master’s degree in ESL (English as a Second Language) curriculum and instruction from the University of Massachusetts.

He taught in Lawrence public schools for 16 years then became an assistant principal at an elementary school in Fitchburg.

Mele was hired as an assistant principal at Haverhill's Tilton Elementary School in 2008 before being transferred to Consentino two years later as an assistant principal.

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