Monakatellia Ford Walker Ford Walker DingmanDingman Damon SmithSmith

UPDATED Jan. 30: The selection process for the deputy superintendent of teaching and learning is nearly complete, Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth C. Homan announced at the School Committee meeting on Jan. 26.

The three candidates have toured APS campuses, met district employees and performed a “finalist task”witnessed by the “cabinet ”of top administrators. Soon they are to each meet individually with Homan, she told the committee, and then comes reference checks. She expects to have a specific recommendation at the next committee meeting, on Feb. 9. “It will be a hard decision,” she said.

Previously, students and their families were able to see and hear the candidates, and to ask questions, during an online presentation Tuesday, Jan. 24, showcasing the three finalists for the second-in-command position with Arlington’s public schools.The person chosen as deputy superintendent of teaching and learning would succeed Dr. Roderick MacNeal Jr., set to depart June 30 to lead a private school in Chestnut Hill.


The competitors are Monakatellia “Mona” Ford Walker, Damon Smith and Thad Dingman, now in his ninth year as principal of Dallin Elementary School in Arlington.

According to a notice posted as a “superintendent’s update” on the front page of the Arlington Public Schools website, this virtual forum took place from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m., with Ford Walker scheduled to appear at 4:30 p.m., Smith at 5:05 p.m. and Dingman at 5:40 p.m. 

“Each candidate will have 30 minutes to share their background and interest in the role and answer questions, with a five-minute break between sessions. Please register in advance for the forum at this link,” the notice says.

More information about the finalists can be found here. The job description for the deputy superintendent of teaching and learning can be found here.Per that job description, among the responsibilities is, “When designated by the superintendent or School Committee, serve as acting superintendent in the superintendent’s absence.” 

Asked by YourArlington how the district would decide who gets the job, Superintendent Elizabeth Homan replied via email Monday, Jan. 23: “I will use feedback from all of the community members interacting with finalists (families, students and staff) this week to form my recommendation of one candidate to the School Committee. The final recommendation of appointment and contract is subject to School Committee approval.”

Before that happens, the lengthy hiring process includes these steps, Homan said: “The finalists will visit two schools each (one elementary, one secondary) and will interact with admins, staff and students at all sites. They will also do a finalist task with my senior leadership team, have a 45-minute session with their potential direct reports and have a 30-minute session with central office staff. At all stages, we will collect feedback from stakeholders. We will also be conducting reference checks for all candidates.” 

Jan. 13, 2022: 3 finalists contend for public schools' deputy superintendent post


This news announcement was published Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, based on information from Arlington Public Schools reported by YourArlington Assistant Editor Judith Pfeffer, then updated later that day to describe how the job ultimately is to be filled. It was updated Jan. 24, 2023, to adjust photos and to correct a word in the headline, on Jan. 27, 2023, to indicate a possible decision date and on Jan. 30, 2023, to correct the byline.