Marblehead High School Principal Dan Bauer is one of three finalists for the position of superintendent of schools in Danvers, the Danvers School Committee announced at a special meeting Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 20.
The other finalists are Geoff Bruno, the superintendent of schools in Scarborough, Maine since July 2021, and Peter Cushing, the current assistant superintendent in Medford.
Candidates will each be brought to Danvers for a daylong site visits on different days the week of Jan. 9, during which they will meet with school staff and administrators.
Bauer has been the principal at MHS since 2016. Before coming to Marblehead, Bauer had served as an assistant principal in Beverly.
School Committee Chair Sarah Fox said she was happy for Bauer to have made the group of finalists and understands his desire to take the logical next step in his career.
“At the same time, if he ends up leaving, he will leave gigantic shoes to fill,” she said. “He is not just a wonderful administrator but a wonderful presence and a wonderful mentor in our community who is cherished by everyone.”
As for how Marblehead would find its next high school principal if Bauer moves on, Fox noted that the town has a “process that has served us well in the past,” which is to have a search committee comprised of a “good cross section” of teachers, parents and other administrators.
But she acknowledged that the position is ultimately a “superintendent hire,” and that it would be up to Superintendent John Buckey to decide what shape the search took.
When asked about Bauer’s possible departure, Buckey told the Current he “wouldn’t want to offer a comment while [Bauer] was active in the search.”
The Danvers superintendent job has been vacant since the spring. Lisa Dana initially went on medical leave about a year ago after coming under fire for her administration’s handling of alleged violent racist, homophobic, and antisemitic behavior by members of the Danvers High 2019-20 boys’ varsity hockey team, which prompted an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.
In April, Dana made the decision to retire effective Aug. 31, 2022, “after a great deal of reflection while out on medical leave,” according to a prepared statement issued by the Danvers School Committee.
Thursday’s announcement was a sudden change of direction for the Danvers school board, which had announced just last week at its regular meeting Dec. 13 that the finalists’ names would not be released until the School Committee’s meeting on Jan. 9.
Danvers School Committee Chairman Eric Crane suggested that the district may be moving quickly due to anticipated intense cooperation for top superintendent candidates throughout the state.