, Salem, MA

Local News

May 2, 2014

Heard Around Town: Changing of the guard at Salem charter school

SALEM — There is life after Rachel Hunt.

Salem Academy Charter School, the grade 6-12 independent public school in Shetland Park, announced this week that Stephanie Callahan has been named head of school and principal of the lower school.

Callahan will replace Hunt, the school’s founder, who will resign in June after 10 years as head of school. And, yes, she’s that Rachel Hunt — the new addition to the Salem School Committee.

Callahan’s appointment does not come as a surprise. She has been at Salem Academy since 2007 and became head of the lower school three years later.

Sean Gass, an administrator at the International Studies Academy in San Francisco, an urban school of 450 students, has been named principal of the upper school (grades 9-12). He is a graduate of Cambridge Rindge & Latin School and Hamilton College in New York, with graduate degrees from UCLA Berkeley.

Hunt announced her plans to step down last November.

Giving Tree

When Ken Rothwell won The Giving Tree Award last year, he was in the hospital being treated for leukemia.

Rothwell, 48, the owner of Ken’s Kickin’ Chicken, was honored to receive the award, which is presented annually to both an adult and a Salem High student who, like the tree in the children’s story, give selflessly to help others.

After winning the award, Rothwell offered to take over financial sponsorship of the student award, which comes with an annual $1,000 grant.

Rothwell made that offer, in large part, because of his close ties to Brendan Walsh, the retired school administrator and current School Committee member who is the driving force behind The Giving Tree.

“I’m just a regular kid from The Point,” said Rothwell, who is still battling cancer. “I come from nothing and worked for everything I have.”

Walsh, he said, was his teacher at Salem High, a teacher who pushed him to make something of himself and someone he has turned to for advice over the years.

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