The three finalists for the Andover High School principal position have been visiting the school this week and Superintendent Claudia Bach says she hopes to decide who the next leader will be by early next week.

The three finalists — Jonathan Harris, a Chelmsford native currently working in the Austin, Texas, public schools; Philip Conrad, assistant principal at Hamilton-Wenham High School; and Brian Salzer, principal of Newton South High School — have been talking with students, staff and parents at "meet the candidate" forums. Bach has conducted one-on-one interviews and observed them each on the job in their current schools.

Bach and Candace Hall, Andover's director of human resources, will continue checking the candidates' references through the end of this week. Bach said she will read all of the remarks AHS parents, students and staff have made on feedback forms from the meet-the-candidate nights.

In an e-mail to the Townsman, Bach said she will make an offer by early next week, and announce the news once the candidate accepts.

"I would hope by early next week I will have made the decision," she said. "There is pressure on me to do so, because these people are in other searches, and we do not want to lose our first pick."

The new principal will take over for outgoing AHS Principal Peter Anderson on July 1.

Andover High School principal candidates

Philip T. Conrad (met AHS parents and teachers on Wednesday, March 11)

Conrad is currently the assistant principal of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. Before accepting that position in 2006, he was the fine arts chairman.

Conrad has a bachelor's degree in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts, a masters in management in arts administration from Lesley College and a M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Endicott College.

Jonathan S. Harris (met with AHS parents and teachers March 9)

Although originally from Chelmsford, Mass., Harris has been part of the Austin Independent School District in Texas for the last 12 years. He has served there as a high school science teacher, a department chairman, an associate principal and a principal. He is a senior associate in the Office of Strategic Compensation/Curriculum.

Harris is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and holds a master's from Texas A&M University in biochemistry and biophysics. He is working on his doctorate in education and leadership from Columbia University's Teacher College.

Brian L. Salzer (meeting with AHS parents and teachers today, March 12)

Salzer is principal of Newton South High School. Before coming to Massachusetts in July 2006, he served the public school system in Sauk Prairie, Wisc., where he was the high school principal for six years. In addition, Salzer has been an assistant high school principal and an English teacher in a variety of Wisconsin school districts.

He received his bachelor's degree in English/secondary education, his master's in administrative leadership and supervision in education, and his Ed.S. (Education Specialist) from the University of Wisconsin.

SOURCE: Candace Hall, Andover's director of human resources

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