Robin Wilson, principal of Pentucket Regional Middle School who has experience working at a charter school and with at-risk children, has been selected as the next principal for Doherty Middle School in Andover.
"I am on cloud nine. I'm excited, and looking so forward to getting to know the staff and kids, learning the traditions at Doherty and honoring them," said Wilson. "There is an ease and rapport among Doherty staff and students. It has a dedicated staff, and a strong community."
After a two-month search, Wilson was picked over finalist Lawrence Fliegelman, principal at Spofford Pond School in Boxford. Interim Superintendent Susan Nicholson and Marinel McGrath, who begins as Andover superintendent July 1, both oversaw the search committee and selection process. Parents were notified of the decision in a June 4 e-mail.
Theresa McGuinness Darby, Doherty principal since 2008, will leave after this school year to pursue a doctorate full-time at Boston University.
"Throughout the process, it was evident to me that (Wilson) is a talented educator who possesses the personal and professional qualities and empathy essential to being an effective middle school principal," said McGrath, who is finishing the year as superintendent of the Hamilton-Wenham regional schools. "Every individual and each group echoed her deep respect and regard for students, teachers, staff and parents. They described her as an energetic, decisive leader who is visible in the school making regular visits to classrooms, the lunchroom and after-school activities. Teachers, staff, and parents described Robin as compassionate, caring, accessible to children and adults and able to develop trusting and respectful relationships with them."
"Throughout our site visit at Pentucket Middle School, students, parents, staff and the administrative team were unanimous in their praise of her leadership: an accessible, good listener, highly visible, collaborative, a strategic thinker, life-long learner and innovative," said Nicholson of Wilson in an e-mail June 8.
Wilson began working at Pentucket Middle School in 1999, spending eight years as assistant principal before becoming principal in 2007. The school has 527 seventh- and eighth-grade students from Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury.
"I'm a middle-school person. It's such a unique time of life. I love that they are exploring who they are as a person, learning about themselves," said Wilson. "They're exciting to be around, they have great personalities."
"I like building a safe community for kids to take risks, build and grow."
Besides the "wonderful reputation" of the Andover Schools, Wilson pursued the Doherty job for a chance to work at a sixth- through eighth-grade school in a town with two other middle schools to collaborate with, she said.
Wilson, who makes $93,700 this year in Pentucket, will get a pay raise as she moves to Doherty. The job posting advertised a salary range of $110,000 to $115,000 per year.
A message to Human Resources Director Candace Hall inquiring of Wilson's salary was not returned before press deadline.
Meet Robin Wilson
Bachelor of science in education from Bridgewater State College
Masters in school administration from Cambridge College
Began teaching fifth-grade in 1986 in Georgetown, later teaching in a special education classroom at Georgetown High School
Spent one year teaching fourth- through sixth-grades in Newfield, N.H.
Taught sixth- through eighth-grades in Fremont, N.H., 1989 to 1994
From 1994 to 1996, Wilson was an at-risk youth prevention specialist for the Massachusetts Prevention Center in Salem, developing prevention program models for juvenile offenders and school systems
In 1996, started as assistant principal/student services coordinator at the Marblehead Community Charter Public School
Started at Pentucket Regional Middle School in 1999, serving as assistant principal for eight years before becoming principal in 2007