We wish Marblehead High School Principal Dan Bauer and Assistant Superintendent Nan Murphy well as they step up to the corner offices in Danvers and Dedham, respectively.
They are well-deserved promotions for both. And no, the sky isn’t falling on Marblehead schools.
Bauer was the right person for the job here when he was hired in 2016. The High School needed a lot of TLC, and he was the one uniquely qualified to offer it. His hale and hearty persona was welcomed in the high school halls. It seemed as if he was everywhere. We challenge anyone in the student body who would disagree.
There are some who will see the departure of two highly respected school administrators as a sign that there is a crisis in the Marblehead Schools. We disagree.
The fact that troubled school districts like Danvers and Dedham looked to Marblehead for their future leaders should be a feather in our cap. The Danvers schools lost the confidence of the town with their “circle the wagons” strategy in the face of a hazing scandal involving the Danvers High School hockey team. It backfired.
Bauer is faced with the challenge of rebuilding the trust of that community. And we believe he is up to the task. In the words of Danvers School Committee member Robin Doherty, “He will be able to come in and heal Danvers.”
In a testament to the quality of leadership in Marblehead, another school administrator has been in the sights of Bay State districts looking for a leader. Assistant Superintendent Nan Murphy landed two “super” finalist spots in Milton and Dedham, and she was chosen by the latter.
Dedham began its search after Superintendent Michael Welch retired. Dedham has not been without its own school turmoil, having experienced a teachers’ strike in 2019. There is also lingering controversy over the firing of the high school football coach who questioned the district’s curriculum on inclusion and diversity. It was a move that divided the town, according to a recent Boston Globe article. Murphy will also face headwinds when she begins her new assignment at the end of the school year.
Bauer told the Current his greatest accomplishment has been working to create a culture of connection among students, faculty and the community. And it didn’t matter if it was a drama club performance or a major sports rivalry, Dan was always there.
Now, the school community and, indeed, the town must focus on finding the next principal for Marblehead High School and a new assistant superintendent. We encourage those taking on those tasks to seek someone who will build on Dan Bauer’s legacy; one that promotes openness, student rapport and diversity and to bring to the central office the experience of Nan Murphy.
The hiring decisions belong to Marblehead Public Schools Superintendent John Buckey, who told The Current, “We have a solid and very effective search process in place, which has yielded us several tremendous leaders over the last few years.”
In last week’s interview with the Current, Bauer reminded us that he will finish his term as principal at the end of the school year. He said when he came aboard, the search committee involved all of the stakeholders.
We urge Buckey to do the same and to include both Bauer and Murphy in the process of finding their successors.
The members of the Current’s editorial board are Ed Bell, who serves as chairman, and Virginia Buckingham, both members of the Current’s board of directors; Kris Olson and Will Dowd, members of the Current’s editorial staff; and Robert Peck and Joseph P. Kahn. Peck is an attorney and former chairman of Marblehead’s Finance Committee and Kahn is a retired Boston Globe journalist.
The Current Editorial Board
The members of the Current’s editorial board are Ed Bell, who serves as chairman, and Virginia Buckingham, both members of the Current’s board of directors; Kris Olson and Will Dowd, members of the Current’s editorial staff; and Robert Peck and Joseph P. Kahn. Peck is an attorney, former chairman of Marblehead’s Finance Committee and a former Select Board member. Kahn is a retired Boston Globe journalist.