READING — School administrators announced they have suspended their search for a new athletic director, after the chosen candidate withdrew from consideration for the job.
In a release, Superintendent of Schools John Doherty announced, “Due to the sudden withdrawal of the chosen finalist in the search process for the RMHS Assistant Principal for Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities, the Reading Public Schools has announced that it has suspended the search for this year.
For the 2012-2013 school year, the Superintendent is appointing Tom Zaya (current RMHS Health and Wellness Department Chair) as the Interim Assistant Principal for Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities. Mr. Zaya’s leadership in Health and Wellness, combined with his past high school coaching experience, will be very valuable as he assumes this role for the coming year.”
The finalist chosen for the job, who withdrew his name from consideration, was Allen Melanson, Career and Technical Education Department Chair at Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia. School officials said he withdrew because he accepted another position.
The other two finalists for the position were:
Caitlin Annicelli, Advanced Placement Social Studies Teacher and Girls Varsity Soccer Coach, Foxborough High School
John Harrison, Mathematics Teacher, Reading Memorial High School and Boys Varsity Tennis Coach, Lynnfield High School.
In late March, after 18 years as Reading Memorial High School’s athletic director, Phil Vaccaro announced he was leaving the post after the spring season.
Vaccaro sent an email to the school’s coaches, faculty and staff, and the other Middlesex League ADs to notify them of his decision.
Vaccaro’s contract, which reportedly pays him roughly $110,000 per year, is up at the end of the school year. He said at the time that he had wanted to stay on for another year through the 2012-13 school year, but school administrators wanted to look in another direction.
Vaccaro, 62, first came to Reading from Somerville in 1982. He coached the Rockets’ boys soccer team for 12 seasons, taking over a struggling program and consistently leading it to MIAA state tournament qualification. After Vaccaro took the AD job, the 1994 RMHS boys soccer team won a Middlesex League championship and advanced to the Division 2 North final. That team has since been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
In Vaccaro’s 18 years as athletic director (beginning with the 1994-95 school year), RMHS has been one of the most successful public schools in the state. Recently, the girls basketball (2012), football (2009), girls swimming (2010) and boys hockey (2008) teams have all won state championships. Also, the baseball (1996) and softball (2001) teams have also won state titles during Vaccaro’s tenure. Most of the other programs have won or been in contention for league championships.
Vaccaro was named regional Athletic Director of the Year in 2009 by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.