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Castleberry Fairs

Erik Anderson a finalist in Boston area principal search


April 25, 2012
WHITEFIELD — Three finalists are on the short list to fill the post of principal of Scituate High School, and one of them is Erik Anderson of Whitefield, principal of White Mountains Regional High School, according to a online letter to staff and parents written by Scituate's interim superintendent, James "Jim" Kelleher.

Scituate is a seacoast town located in Plymouth County on the South Shore, midway between Boston and Plymouth.

Elizabeth "Liz" Grindle, today's second-in-command at the 935-student high school, is an inside candidate who has held her current post from 2008 to the present. Prior to that, Grindle taught math for six years at nearby Marshfield High School.

The third candidate, Robert Wargo, principal at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, is also a Bay Stater. It has only been a year since Wargo was appointed his current position, however; prior to that, he was King Philip's assistant principal.

Anderson has been principal of WMRHS since 2008 and served as assistant principal from 2002 to 2005. Between these two stints, he served as principal of Bethlehem Elementary School (K to 6) from 2005 to 2008. Earlier in his career, Anderson was a high school social studies teacher for eight years in Illinois, where he also served as a wrestling and football coach and as a drama director.

A Mid-Westerner, Anderson grew up in Edwardsville, Ill., a suburb northeast of St. Louis, Mo.

Scituate's current principal, Donna Nuzzo-Mueller, will retire on June 30; she has held the post since 1999.

Interim Supt. Kelleher is expected to recommend her successor to the school board in early May, according to the area's newspaper, "The Patriot Ledger."

Anderson was slated to spend yesterday, April 24, at Scituate High School; and a five- or six-member visiting committee will son spend a full day at WMRHS.

The Scituate School District is also seeking a new superintendent and a new special education director. Scituate has a total of 3,275 students, pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Nearly half its graduates go onto four-year private colleges; nearly 80 percent attend four-year colleges, both public and private.

"Scituate High School is twice as large as WMRHS," Anderson said in a Saturday afternoon telephone interview. "Becoming principal there would be a professional challenge. WMRHS is in a good place right now, and I believe the changes and accomplishments that I have worked on with the teachers, staff and students will remain in place, whether or not I am here."

Being removed from the state's School in Need of Improvement (SINI) list and leading the way to the school system's being taken off the District in Need of Improvement (DINI) list are both clear signs that the high school has made substantial progress, Anderson said. Support for the Career and Technical Education Center continues to build, and District voters seem to be more satisfied with the direction in which the high school is moving than in recent years.

From a personal perspective, being closer to a metropolitan area has some advantages, and being on the seacoast is also appealing, he said.

Anderson also pointed out that this year's class of 2012 would be the first to graduate after having spent all four years with him as their principal. Perhaps he has been influenced by some of their excitement about moving on to new endeavors and taking on new challenges.

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