Island teacher and administrator John Stevens is returning to his former job as Edgartown School principal this summer, after current principal Shelley Einbinder-Fleischmann and assistant principal MaryAnn Bartlett depart at the end of June.

Mr. Stevens, who retired in 2019 after 12 years as principal of the school he attended as a child, most recently has been working as assistant superintendent of operations for the Island-wide school district.

He will head Edgartown School on an interim basis, with the school’s longtime guidance counselor Deborah DeBettencourt becoming assistant principal, superintendent of schools Richard Smith said this week.

“Learning under John is a great thing, and he can be a great mentor for her in transitioning to administration,” Mr. Smith told the Gazette.

Public employees in retirement are generally prohibited from working full-time, but Mr. Smith said that Mr. Stevens has reached an agreement with the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement Board that allows him to be a full-time interim principal.

“He’s found a path [to] 100 per cent full time,” Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Stevens will work with Ms. DeBettencourt for the coming school year, giving the school district time to conduct a formal search for a permanent principal.

“We’re lucky to have someone extremely familiar with [the school and community], who can plug in immediately and help support a new assistant principal, so there’s not newness all around,” Mr. Smith said.

“When we find [the new principal], that person will be coming into a ready-made administration,” he said.

Ms. Einbinder-Fleischmann was the Edgartown principal for five years and announced in April that she would step down at the end of the school year. She has worked in education for 41 years and wanted to spend more time with her brother who has been fighting brain cancer.

Mr. Stevens’ return comes after two dozen Edgartown parents submitted letters to the school taking issue with the school administration, alleging ineffective leadership and a breakdown in the school’s ability to serve all students.

The Island-wide school system continues to look for a successor to retiring Oak Bluffs School principal Megan Farrell. That search has reached the interviewing stage, Mr. Smith said, with top candidates yet to be selected for in-person interviews.

Once the Oak Bluffs principal has been hired, he said, he’ll next need to hire for the district-wide operations position Mr. Stevens is leaving.

He expects to begin the Edgartown principal search midway through the coming school year, likely in January, Mr. Smith told the Gazette.