ANDOVER — The names of two finalists for Andover High School principal were announced yesterday — James Lee from the Manchester Essex Regional High School and Christopher Lord, a principal in Pawtucket, R.I.

Lord, the principal of Shea High School in Pawtucket, will visit Andover High School today. He will begin his day at 8:30 a.m. having breakfast with high school administrators.

Lee, the principal of the Manchester Essex Regional High School, will visit Andover Monday.

Attempts to reach both finalists for comment were unsuccessful yesterday.

School Superintendent Marinel McGrath said this is an exciting time for the Andover community with the field of 28 applicants being narrowed down to the two viable candidates.

"Over the next couple weeks we will learn more about them and they will learn more about us," McGrath said. "The visits and further interviews will enable me to determine the best leader for our students and teachers."

The new principal's salary will be $130,000, according the McGrath's preliminary school budget.

Along with a tour of the school, Lee and Lord will meet with teachers, district-wide administrators and students. Parents and other community members will have an opportunity to meet both candidates Monday during a reception in the school's library.

The person selected will succeed interim Principal Thomas Sharkey, who has held the post for the past two years.

Sharkey, who retired as the headmaster of Lawrence High School in 2009, was brought on as interim principal in Andover in September 2010 after then-Principal Jonathan Harris resigned to take a job with the Texas Education Agency in Austin, Texas. Harris' resignation came only three weeks into the start of the school year.

Last year, the search for a permanent principal came up empty. While 18 people applied, the search committee determined there were no viable candidates.

Lord has been principal at Shea High School since 2003. He began his career as a science teacher in 1985 and taught science and math in various public school districts. Previously he held assistant principal positions at Middletown High School in Middletown, R.I., and the Stevens High School in Claremont, N.H.

Lord has an undergraduate degree in biology and a master's degree in education and biology from Tufts University. He also received a master's degree in educational administration from California State University in Los Angeles and his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Connecticut.

Lee has been principal of Manchester Essex Regional High School since 2006, after serving as that district's middle school principal for a year.

Prior to working in Manchester, Lee was principal of Newburyport High School for three years.

Lee began his career as a special education teacher in the Stoneham Public Schools where he worked from 1990 to 1996.

He graduated from UMass Amherst with a degree in business administration. He obtained his license in moderate special education from Salem State College and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the UMass Lowell.

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Parent reception with finalists

When: Monday, March 5.

Reception for James Lee from 5:45 to 6:30 p.m.

Reception for Christopher Lord from 6:45 to 7:30 p.m.

Where: Andover High School Library, 80 Shawsheen Road.

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