SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 15, 2013

Two finalists named in principal search

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — HAMILTON — The search for a new high school principal is down to two finalists — Eric Tracy, principal of Wilmington High School, and Kristen Vogel, an assistant principal at Bedford High.

Both finalists have connections to area schools: Vogel previously worked in Swampscott, and Tracy in Salem and Peabody.

Hamilton-Wenham Superintendent Michael Harvey said the two finalists were selected from 37 applicants, 10 of whom were interviewed by a screening committee.

“I think each is very strong in their own way,” Harvey said. “There are some distinct differences between the two of them, but that is a good thing.”

Tracy will spend the day at the school on Jan. 28, and Vogel will visit the next day. Harvey and a small team will also visit their current schools.

The visits will end with a session for each to meet parents and interested members of the public at 5:30 p.m. in the music room at the high school. Those in attendance will be asked to provide written feedback on the candidates.

“I really do value the input of the community in making this decision,” Harvey said. “If they have time to make it to both 5:30 sessions, that would be great.”

Tracy has been principal of Wilmington High since 2004. He began his career as a technology and science teacher and has previously worked as an assistant principal in Peabody and Salem. He has an bachelor’s degree in industrial science and education from Fitchburg State College and a master’s in education administration from Cambridge College.

Vogel has been an assistant principal at Bedford High School since 2006. She began her career as a teacher at The Governor’s Academy and previously worked as an assistant principal, curriculum director and teacher in Swampscott. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from St. Lawrence University and a master’s in teaching history from Boston College.

The new hire will replace interim Principal John Hughes, who has led the school for the past two years, since former Principal Matthew Fox left to become principal of Veterans Middle School in Marblehead.

This is the second search for a permanent principal at the school; former Superintendent Peter Gray declined to hire either of the two finalists in the last search. Hughes, who worked as an educator in Natick for 40 years, agreed to stay on for a second year.

The new principal is expected to start July 1. The salary has not been determined.