Nestled among thousands of kids on the first day of school in Andover next week will be two new principals and a new performing arts coordinator for the school system. West Elementary School and West Middle School has new principals this year. They are replacing two longtime principals who retired last spring with 59 years of Andover school experience between them. Former West Middle Principal Becky Franks had 25 years on the job while former West Elementary Principal Liz Roos had 34 years of experience, according to school officials. They were among 24 faculty members in the School Department who retired at the end of the last school year. Two experienced school leaders from outside the district are carrying on the leadership roles. Both are former teachers who went on to earn master's degrees and work in school administration. Andover's new performing arts coordinator is also from outside the district.
Here's a closer look at Andover's new principals and performing arts coordinator:
Tim Corkery is the new West Middle School principal. He is an Andover native and former West Middle student, who worked as the principal of Nettle Middle School in Haverhill since 2014. Under Corkery’s leadership, Nettle School's scholastic achievement improved tremendously, school officials said.
“As a former student at West Middle, it feels great to be home," Corkery said in a press release. "I look forward to being a part of the community again.”
Prior to his career as an educator, Corkery was a officer in the Navy and spent almost 25 years as a Navy pilot. Toward the end of his naval career, he served as the executive officer of the Naval ROTC program and was an associate professor at the University of Arizona.
A former social studies teacher, Corkery received a bachelor's degree in political science from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He also has two master's degrees, one from the U.S. Naval War College in national security and strategic studies and the other from the University of Arizona in educational leadership.
Jennifer Hunt is the new principal at West Elementary School. Formerly the principal of Clarke Elementary in Swampscott for the past five years, she was chosen for the Andover position because of her deep understanding of student learning, school officials said.
"Inclusivity and diversity are large parts of my educational philosophy and I know these are important tenets of the West Elementary community," Hunt said in a press release.
A former Northborough elementary school teacher for 13 years — in grades one and two as well as reading and literacy — Hunt said she looks forward to becoming an integral part the Andover school community.
Hunt received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Worcester State University and a master's degree in school administration from American International College in Springfield.
Sean Walsh is the new visual and performing arts program coordinator for Andover students in kindergarten through grade 12. He comes from the Malden school district.
Walsh was the interim director of humanities in Malden public schools, where he oversaw the world languages, social studies, English language arts, and music and art departments for kindergarten through grade 12.
Walsh has worked at Malden High School as the English lead teacher and was a drama teacher for 13 years. He has built a successful and state-recognized theater program, and partnered with many universities and community groups.
ANDOVER'S NEW SCHOOL YEAR
Start day: Wednesday, Aug. 28 Number of public schools: 10
Enrollment kindergarten to grade 12: 5,980
Private schools: 6 (St. Augustine, Melmark, Montessori, Pike, Phillips Academy, Center for Professional Development)