SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 16, 2010

Salem hires 3 new principals

City continues to hold off on advertising Horace Mann job

By Amanda McGregor

SALEM — Three new principals have been appointed to the Salem Public Schools.

Julie Carter, who teaches grade seven/eight at Saltonstall School, has been picked to lead Saltonstall starting in August.

Nora Pou, who had been a finalist for all three principal jobs, has been appointed principal of Nathaniel Bowditch School.

Jean-Marie Kahn, a teacher from the Billerica schools, will be principal of Carlton Elementary School.

"Each of these new principals is an excellent fit with the school that she will be leading," Superintendent William Cameron said. "We were fortunate to have a strong pool of applicants for each principal vacancy."

Current Bowditch School Principal Ana Hanton and Carlton School Principal Phil Burke will retire July 1. Robert Teel has served as interim principal of Saltonstall since Margaret Voss Howard's retirement last summer.

Carter, who lives in Salem, taught previously in Gloucester and Vermont, and her experience includes teaching in special education, elementary school and now middle school grades, according to Cameron.

She will lead Saltonstall, which is a K-8 extended-year, extended-day school with 404 students that has multi-age classrooms that partner two grades in each classroom.

Pou, a native of Puerto Rico, lives in Wellesley and is currently assistant director of the International Charter School in Pawtucket, R.I. She was previously an elementary principal in Boston and Natick public schools, Cameron said.

She will lead Bowditch School, a K-8 school with 490 students that offers a dual language program in which students whose first languages are English or Spanish, read, write and study content in both languages.

Kahn, who lives in North Andover, is an elementary level literacy and reading coach in the Billerica Public Schools, according to Cameron, who said Kahn was previously an elementary school teacher in Billerica and New Hampshire. She will be principal of Carlton School, which serves 174 students in grades kindergarten to five.

Pou and Kahn start work July 1.

Cameron said each of the new principals emerged from a group of 40 to 50 candidates.

"The vetting process for all the applicants was vigorous," Cameron said.

Diane O'Donnell, principal of Horace Mann Lab School, is also retiring, but the city has not yet advertised her position. Due to a projected budget shortfall, school officials said it is possible Horace Mann will close, although no decision has been made, and they will hold off on a principal search until then.

The principal search screening teams included members of each school's parent organization and faculty, as well as other Salem educators and community members.

"I am confident that these educators will be successful in their new assignments," Cameron said.

Salary information was not available as of press time.