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March 29, 2013

Voke school leader picked

North Shore Technical Superintendent O'Connell is the unanimous choice

MIDDLETON — The School Committee for the sprawling, $133 million regional technical school now rising on the campus of Essex Aggie in Danvers unanimously picked North Shore Technical High Superintendent-Director Daniel O’Connell to lead what will be known as Essex Tech.

“The word that we keep hearing, and the word that is driving me forward, is ‘passion,’” Gloucester representative Melissa Teixeira said.

“I want to hire a superintendent who loves this school as much as I do,” said Marcia Sweeney, the representative from Marblehead.

The committee picked O’Connell in the media center of the 475-student regional vocational school on Log Bridge Road that he presently directs.

“To finish your career in a school that is a national showcase” and merges two high-achieving schools, O’Connell said in his closing remarks, “it’s an educator’s dream.”

The committee chose O’Connell over Edward Bouquillon, the superintendent-director of Minuteman Regional in Lexington. Bouquillon passed over the job to head Essex Aggie several years ago to take the Minuteman job.

“It surprises me, as well,” Bouquillon said about applying. Usually, superintendents of regional vocational schools do not look for other jobs, but he said the merger into a new facility was “a unique opportunity.”

O’Connell pointed out that he has been in education for 40 years. He started as a physical education teacher and director of athletics at Triton Regional and held administrative posts with Portsmouth High in New Hampshire, Haverhill High, Greater Lawrence Technical High in Andover, Methuen High and Burlington High before landing at North Shore Tech as principal in 2007. He became the superintendent-director in 2010.

O’Connell described the chance to lead the merger as “a great opportunity.” When asked to describe his management style, O’Connell said “the first word that comes to mind is ‘team,’” adding that he was someone who was both “transparent” and “totally honest.”

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