METHUEN — During his nine years as a principal at Marsh Grammar School, Rick Beshara became the Principal Who Kissed a Pig.
He earned the moniker by agreeing in 2009 to kiss a pig for a fundraiser, and unwittingly wound up with the pig on the cover of a local magazine.
“It kicked off our Reach For the Stars literacy fundraiser. Children read books and earned points towards purchasing books. I told the children of the lower school if we reached our goal, I’d kiss the pig — which I did,” said Beshara, who has been involved in the Methuen community for decades as a resident, even when his career as an educator took him to other parts of the state.
Beshara, who was associate principal for five years and supervising principal for four, will step down at the end of this school year to “take another adventure.” That will not include putting his feet up, he said. Rather, he may look to dive back into teaching, a profession in which he has spent much of his career.
Born in Lawrence and raised in Methuen, Beshara graduated from Tenney High School in 1971, one of the last graduating classes before the existing high school opened.
In that time, the district has changed quite a bit, he said, with the adoption of grammar schools that host kindergarten through eighth grade, renovation of buildings into grammar schools, the opening of a new high school, and the massive renovation and expansion of that now not-so-new high school.
“Methuen has gotten much bigger and more diverse than when I grew up,” he said.
Beshara started his teaching career in Methuen in 1975, but lost his job in 1981 after the voter anti-tax revolt that ushered in Proposition 2 1/2 and restricted property tax and local government spending hikes. He spent four years in the private sector, but was laid off in 1985 and returned to education.