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New principal for Ottoson coming from Dover Sherborn in July

Brian MerinMeringer: Help successful transition

ACMI report with photo, video >>

UPDATED, Feb. 19: Brian Meringer has accepted the position of principal of Ottoson Middle School, the Arlington Public Schools announced Friday, Feb. 16. Currently assistant headmaster of the Dover Sherborn Middle School, he will officially assume his responsibilities as principal on July 1. 

In response to a request for comment, Meringer wrote: "I am thrilled to be named the principal of the Ottoson Middle School. During the interview process, I was extremely impressed with the staff, parents, and students that I met.

"I am looking forward to listening and learning from the Ottoson Community, in order to help the school successfully transition to a two grade schools."

In making this announcement, Superintendent Kathleen Bodie noted his record of high achievement in his current and previous positions. "Ottoson Middle School will benefit from a highly capable, student focused and proven school leader as it transitions next year to a grade seven and eight school. Mr. Meringer comes with high praise from his colleagues, students, and community and we look forward to him filling this key role on the leadership team for the district."

 Bodie emphasized that the district attracted very strong candidates for the Ottoson position. All finalist candidates were very accomplished, and they will continue to provide excellent public education leadership in their current and future positions, a news release said.

Meringer has been in his current position since 2013. Previously, he was a housemaster in the Philip O. Coakley Middle School in Norwood. In Norwood, he also coached varsity girls' basketball and boys' soccer.

From 2002 through 2008 he taught both sixth and seventh grade in the Wellesley Middle School. While teaching social studies, language arts and literacy there, he also completed his administrative internship. He began his work as an educator teaching social studies in middle schools in the Concord and Rockport public schools.

Meringer received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. He holds a master of arts in teaching history from Boston College and a master of education in organization management from Endicott College.

Bodie invites the community to join her in welcoming Meringer to the district as Arlington enters a new phase of middle school education. The renovated Gibbs, a sixth-grade-only school, expected to open in September, while the Ottoson Middle School opens its doors as a school for seventh- and eighth-grade students at the same time.

Bishop leader tells staff why he withdrew

In early January, the search committee for the Ottoson principal position has named four finalists.

They were Donna Martin, Meringer, Elizabeth Golden and Bishop Principal Mark McAneny. He lalter withdrew.

Dr. Eileen Driscoll Woods, who has served in the position on an interim basis over the past two years after Timothy Ruggere left, confirmed McAneny had withdrawn, adding she did not know why. 

McAneny shared with YourArlington a letter to his staff sent last Sunday titled "Withdrawing Candidacy From OMS Search":

"Although it was my hope to further and grow my career by focusing on the work needed at the OMS, I have come to realize that my heart, passion, and commitment is with the Bishop community. With this said and with much thought, I have decided to withdraw my candidacy from the OMS Principal search.

"I look forward to our continued collaboration as we provide the best education for ALL of our students!"

As listed Jan. 7, the finalists were:

-- Elizabeth Golden, assistant principal of the Collins Middle School in Salem. Dr. Golden, who was to visit Ottoson on Wednesday, Jan. 10, is in her 10th year in her current position. Her prior work was as a special education/history teacher at Lynn Public Schools' English High School. She also worked in Lynn's Welcoming Alternative Schools as a middle school special-education teacher. Prior to that she was a middle school special-education teacher at the Manville School in Boston, part of the Judge Baker Children’s Center.

-- Donna Martin, assistant principal of the McCarthy Middle School in Chelmsford. Martin has been in her current position for nine years. She was to visit Ottoson on Monday, Jan. 8. She was the secondary-level social-studies curriculum coordinator in the Chelmsford Public Schools for three years before her current position. From 1993 through 2006, she worked in the Arlington Public Schools, for 10 years at Ottoson as a social-studies teacher, and for two years at Arlington High School, also as a social- studies teacher.

-- Meringer, assistant headmaster of the Dover-Sherborn Middle School. Meringer, who was to visit Ottoson on Jan. 16, has held his current position since 2013. Previously, he was a housemaster in the middle school in Norwood Public Schools. From 2002 through 2008 he was a sixth-grade social studies and literacy/language arts teacher in the Wellesley Middle School, where he also completed his administrative internship. He previously taught social studies in the middle school in the Concord and Rockport Public Schools.

-- Mark McAneny, principal of the Bishop Elementary School in Arlington. McAneny was to visit Ottoson on Thursday, Jan. 11. He has been principal of Bishop School since 2011. He was previously the assistant principal at Newman Elementary School in Needham, and was a grade three and four 4 teacher at the Amos A. Lawrence School in the Brookline Public Schools starting in 2002. His prior work experience includes service in the U.S. Marine Corps and in private business.

Woods has continued as interim following a failed search last spring for enough finalists for the permanent position. She is serving as a second time as interim principal.

The position opened up in July 2016, about a month after voters supported ballot questions, including one that deals with an overlarge middle school, and Timothy R. Ruggere, Ottoson's principal since 2009, said he was leaving. He is principal of Triton Regional High School in Byfield, near New Hampshire. 

Asked for details about the search, Bodie wrote July 3 that Dr. Laura L. Chesson, when she assistant superintendent here, chaired the committee and interviewed nine candidates among the 40 to 50 who applied.

The position was posted last January, and the search was closed last May, when the administration did not have three finalist candidates to move forward in the process.

July 1, 2016: Ottoson interim principal named, served at Dallin
July 5, 2016: Principal leaves expanding Ottoson to lead more rural high school

This news announcement was published published Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, and updated that day, to add a photo and quote. Updated Feb. 19, to add ACMi link.

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