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March 30, 2013

Merged vo-tech district names superintendent

MIDDLETON — The School Committee for the sprawling, $133 million regional technical school now rising on the campus of Essex Aggie in Danvers has unanimously picked North Shore Technical High Superintendent-Director Daniel O’Connell to lead what will be known as Essex Tech.

“The word that we keep hearing, and the word that is driving me forward, is ‘passion,’” said Melissa Teixeira, a member of the Gloucester School Committee who serves as that board’s representative on the regional vo-tech panel.

The committee picked O’Connell during a Thursday meeting in the media center of the 475-student regional vocational school that he presently directs.

“To finish your career in a school that is a national showcase” and merges two high-achieving schools, O’Connell said in his closing remarks, “it’s an educator’s dream.”

The committee chose O’Connell over Edward Bouquillon, the superintendent-director of Minuteman Regional in Lexington. Bouquillon passed over the job of heading Essex Aggie several years ago to take the Minuteman post.

“It surprises me, as well,” Bouquillon said about applying. Usually, superintendents of regional vocational schools do not look for other jobs, but he said the merger into a new facility was “a unique opportunity.”

O’Connell pointed out that he has been in education for 40 years. He started as a physical education teacher and director of athletics at Triton Regional and held administrative posts with Portsmouth High in New Hampshire, Haverhill High, Greater Lawrence Technical High in Andover, Methuen High and Burlington High before landing at North Shore Tech as principal in 2007. He became the superintendent-director in 2010.

O’Connell described the chance to lead the merger as “a great opportunity.” When asked to describe his management style, O’Connell said “the first word that comes to mind is ‘team,’” adding that he was someone who was both “transparent” and “totally honest.”

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