D. got the job!
As MeanSomething said, "it ain't over 'til it's over," and she was totally right! Nik was wise not to give up hope, because indeed hope was still out there, although I had temporarily lost sight of it.
So here's what happened: D called the fabulous school's academic dean this morning around 10:00 to double-check that she hadn't gotten the job so that she could call the crappy school about this afternoon's interview. The academic dean was weirdly distracted and said, "Um, I'm in the middle of an important meeting. Could I call you back in a few minutes?" Turns out that the meeting was with the head of school to work out the exact package that they were going to offer D. So the academic dean (we'll have to work out pseudonyms for these folks) called her back to say, "Check your email in a few minutes -- there's a contract offer in it!"
A nice bonus: The head of school sent an email this morning to a couple of folks, including the academic dean, and accidentally (I assume) cc'd D. on it. In the email, he apologized to the academic dean for the miscommunication and for not realizing on Tuesday (the day of her visit) that D. was the preferred candidate whom the dean wanted to hire. Of course, it still would have been lovely to receive a job offer even if the first candidate had turned it down and so they'd offered it to D., but how much nicer to know that she was the first choice!
I learned about all of this an hour or so afterward, when I got back to my room after a meeting to see D's email. I started shrieking, "Oh my god!," such that my neighbors ran over to see if something was wrong. I told them the great news ... and then started hyperventilating a little bit, such that I had to lean on the desk and deliberately slow my breathing to assure that I was getting enough oxygen. Several department members and I were on our way to a luncheon for the new international students, so I had no time to process the good news at all, but then a dear friend said, "Okay, I think you're going to need to cry a little just to get it out of your system," at which point I burst into tears, cried for a couple of minutes, and then dried my eyes, got another round of hugs from everyone, and went off to the luncheon. For the rest of the day, I told every colleague I saw the good news, and there was much congratulations all the way around.
Here's the scoop on the job: It's at a boys' middle school, grades 5-9, henceforth FBS for "fabulous boys' school." D. is the new sixth-grade teacher at the school, teaching English, social studies (consisting of African and Asian studies), and math. She'll be the primary teacher for a class of about 14 boys, who will go to another teacher for science, art, and music. She'll also coach for one season, although it's not entirely clear what that will consist of; it may be, for example, that her coaching could consist of supervising the boys working on the school's organic farm, which she's very jazzed about. She'll also stay on campus one evening a week for study hall. So she's definitely going to be busy -- but she'll be busy working for a good cause, with good colleagues, in a good place. The school's core values include compassion and fun, and one could hardly do worse.
D. and I went out for a swanky celebratory dinner tonight (taking advantage of Restaurant Week in Adventure City), but the new reality still hasn't totally sunk in and probably won't until she's actually in the thick of it. Her new faculty orientation begins on Tuesday, and classes begin the day after Labor Day.
Hip hip hurrah!!
And thank you all for your support during this long and difficult job search.