By Councilor-At-Large Mary Jo Rossetti
Veteran educator brings dynamic, student-centered approach, more than 20 years of experience to key school leadership position
Somerville, MA – Following a comprehensive search process, Somerville Public Schools (SPS) Superintendent Mary Skipper is pleased to announce that Matthew Buchanan, currently Principal at Hope High School in the Providence Public Schools in Rhode Island, will be joining the District’s school leadership team as the next Principal of Somerville High School (SHS). Mr. Buchanan is wrapping up his second year at Hope High, and takes over the helm of the 1,250+ comprehensive Somerville High School from current Principal Sebastian “Sibby” LaGambina. Principal LaGambina, a graduate of SHS, announced in January his intent to retire at the end of this school year after a 35-year career in SPS, including the last four as Principal at SHS.
“I am incredibly excited to welcome Mr. Buchanan to our district as the next Somerville High School Principal. I am fully confident that he will continue to build on the outstanding work of Mr. LaGambina and all the students and staff at Somerville High School,” stated Superintendent Skipper. “His focus on student- centered teaching and learning, his commitment to community and family engagement, and his energy and passion will allow us to continue to move forward on critical work we have undertaken at SHS over the last several years. I look forward to working with and supporting Mr. Buchanan in his new role as we continue to build on the proud and successful tradition of SHS with a new state-of-the-art facility and an educational plan that aligns with our commitment to equitable access to rich and authentic learning experiences for all students.”
“After spending my entire professional career in Rhode Island, primarily in Providence and PPSD, I have enthusiastically accepted the role of Principal at Somerville High School. I am extremely happy and excited about this challenge and look forward to continuing the amazing work that Mr. LaGambina has done,” commented Mr. Buchanan. “The process was arduous and exhaustive but extremely rewarding. My student centered approach and ability to work with all stakeholders is something I can’t wait to continue implementing at Somerville. My beautiful wife Diana whom I have been married to for 19 years and my 3 wonderful children, Johnathan (21), Natalia (11) and our feisty 4 year old Maribel are blessed to have been given this opportunity and I will work tirelessly for student advocacy, equity and academic excellence. To the Somerville families, thank you for believing in me and trusting me with your children’s educational future. I will be their biggest advocate and provide them with a platform and a voice. To the Somerville staff, I appreciate your questions, honesty and commitment to SHS. I am eagerly anticipating working with you all to continue to grow SHS and make it a model high school for the state. Lastly, to the Somerville students, get ready for a great ride while we continue to shine. Our goal is to become global citizens, ambassadors for our community and lifelong learners.”
Mr. Buchanan was one of four finalists for consideration for the position out of an initial slate of 33 candidates. He brings a strong student-centered focus to his work and more than 20 years of experience in teaching, counseling and program development in a variety of settings in the Providence area. In 2019, Mr. Buchanan became the Principal of Hope High School, where as Instructional Leader and Turnaround Principal, he has focused on using data, building partnerships, and providing targeted professional
development to strengthen culturally responsive practices that will lead to better overall outcomes for all students. During his time at Hope High, Mr. Buchanan has worked closely with the Community Advisory Board to align Hope High School’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan to the school’s instructional and cultural priorities. Throughout his career as an educator, Mr. Buchanan has used his resources and connections in the community to develop programs and cultivate partnerships that further enhance the learning experience for students.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Buchanan was Assistant Principal at Rhode Island’s Mount Pleasant High School from 2017-2019, and also served as the Alternative Evening Program Principal for the Juanita Sanchez High School from 2018-2019. He was Assistant Principal at Nathanael Greene Middle School from 2014-2017. Mr. Buchanan earned his Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Rhode Island College. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family studies with a minor in African American Studies from the University of Rhode Island.
A special thanks to the members of the Somerville High School Principal Search Screening Committee for their extraordinary dedication and commitment to this search process. Members of the Screening Committee included Dr. Jessica Boston Davis, Francesca Broekman, Paul Cooley, Barbara Favaloro, Isaias Hernandez Rivera, Aidaratou Koita, Teresa Martinez, Chad Mazza, Jodi Remington, Beatriz Thomas, and Grace Torino. Assisting the Screening Committee in this process were search consultants Dr. Ray Shurtleff and Dr. Anne Wilson from the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Manage