Who will be Boston Latin’s interim headmaster?

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Michael Contompasis, the former acting superintendent of Boston’s schools, also served as Boston Latin’s headmaster for 21 years.
Michael Contompasis, the former acting superintendent of Boston’s schools, also served as Boston Latin’s headmaster for 21 years.The Boston Globe - The Boston Gl/Boston Globe

With Superintendent Tommy Chang expected to name an interim headmaster for Boston Latin School Tuesday, speculation is running rampant about who will replace Lynne Mooney Teta, who is stepping down amid a federal probe into racially charged incidents at the city's top exam school.

If history offers any insight, chances are Chang will appoint someone internally or tap a retired administrator. There's always the chance of someone coming out of left field. Observers expect that the individual will likely have some connection to Latin School already, an educator with the know-how to steady a school rocked by allegations of racial discrimination while also being respectful of the traditions of the nation's oldest school.


Here are three potential candidates whom Chang might consider:

■ Chang could dispatch one of the members of his executive team, Alexandra Montes McNeil, who as a principal leader has been overseeing more than two dozen elementary and K-8 schools. McNeil, who holds a bachelor's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from MIT, is a known commodity at BLS. She worked there for 12 years first as a physics teacher, then as science program director, and assistant headmaster.

■ Others argue, though, there is no better person to put in charge — or in this case back in charge — than Michael Contompasis, who served 21 years as Boston Latin's headmaster before rising through the ranks to become Boston's superintendent. Contompasis's name is pretty much synonymous with the elite exam school, which is also his alma mater. His die-hard dedication to the school and his take-charge management style could be what BLS needs to guide it through this turbulent era and allow the eventual permanent replacement to start on a more stable and successful footing.

■ Then there is retired Boston schools headmaster Al Holland, who has been advising BLS administrators for the last few months during the current crisis. That experience provides Holland with a strong understanding of the challenges ahead for BLS and potentially a road map to help the institution get through it.


Holland, who is best known for his former role as headmaster at the Jeremiah Burke High School, has pinch-hit for the school system before, stepping out of retirement to fill in as headmaster for Madison Park Vocational Technical High School two years ago. Holland has been widely credited for restoring order at the troubled school.

Have any other ideas for possible contenders? Reach out directly at james.vaznis@globe.com or note them in the comments section. I'll update this posting as the day goes on — that is unless Chang makes his announcement first.