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Salem: William P. Hagen, new principal of Salem High School, stands in the small gymnasium at the school with the school's mascot, the Blue Devil, in the background, Photo by Ken Yuszkus/Eagle-Tribune. Friday, May 21, 2004

SALEM — Salem High School Principal William Hagen is leaving to accept the same job at Bedford High School.

In February, Hagen made himself a candidate for the job in Bedford, a school with about 1,200 students. He was chosen by Bedford's superintendent and approved by its School Board on Monday. He will leave Salem High in June.

It wasn't an easy choice, said Hagen, who grew up in Salem and graduated from Salem High in 1975.

"It was probably the most difficult decision I've had to make professionally," he said. "It's a great community with a great school."

Hagen has been principal at Salem High for six years. Before that, he was the principal of Amherst Middle School and served as an assistant principal in Hudson. Before becoming an administrator, he was a physical education teacher for nine years.

Hagen earned $106,800 as Salem High's principal last year. His salary in Bedford has been set at $108,500 for next year.

Now, the district has the task of replacing him. The position already has been advertised online. Candidates have until April 13 to offer themselves for consideration, Superintendent Michael Delahanty said.

The timing of Bedford's decision doesn't give the district much time to find a replacement. Ideally, the district would have preferred to have officially started the search a month ago, Delahanty said.

"It's a little later than I would have liked," he said.

Delahanty commended Hagen for overseeing the staff and approximately 2,000 students.

"It's a difficult job and he's done outstanding work," he said. "We're sorry to see him go."

The district will consider internal and outside candidates. An interim principal might be chosen for next school year, although that is the least desirable option, Delahanty said.

"I'm hoping there are some aspiring administrators out there that would like to take this challenge," he said.

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