ANDOVER — Two finalists have been chosen in the search for an interim superintendent to lead the Andover School District through a one-year transition next year.

Dr. Paul Ash, superintendent of the Lexington Public School who is retiring from that post in June, and Dr. Sheldon Berman, superintendent of the Eugene School District in Eugene, Ore., and former superintendent in Hudson, Mass., are the top choices of the preliminary screening committee, School Committee Chairman Annie Gilbert announced Friday.

The School Committee is expected to interview both candidates in open session at its June 4 meeting. The public is invited to attend and the interviews will be televised.

The committee will then vote on the finalists early the week of June 8, Gilbert said. The date of that meeting has not yet been set.

The transitional leader will fill the void being left by Superintendent Marinel McGrath, who announced in March that she would be stepping down to focus on her family. Her last day is July 17.

The interim superintendent is tasked with transitioning the School Department for one year while school officials search for a permanent superintendent, who is expected to be in place for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Ash, who has served as superintendent in Lexington since 2005, announced his retirement from the post in February 2014. His last day on the job is June 30. Prior to joining Lexington schools, he was superintendent of Westwood Public Schools for seven years.

In his career, Ash has also served the Wellesley Public Schools in several capacities, including as its director of professional personnel and staff development and as an assistant superintendent and interim superintendent. He began his career as a science teacher at Dover-Sherborn Regional High School.

Ash has a Doctor of Philosophy from Boston College and earned his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from UMass. He is currently a member of the National Superintendents Roundtable and has served on the National Board of Governors for the American Association of School Administrators.

Berman, who has been superintendent in Eugene, Ore., since 2011, announced last year that the 2014-2015 school year would be his last, citing "family circumstance," according to published reports. 

A school superintendent for nearly two decades, Berman led the Hudson, Mass., schools from 1993 to 2007. From there, he traveled to Louisville, Ky., to lead the Jefferson County Public Schools from 2007 to 2011. 

Berman earned his Doctor of Education and Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education, his Master of Education degree from the University of Maine and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin. He serves on the boards of directors of the Educators for Social Responsibility, the Education Commission of the States' National Center for Learning and Citizenship; the Leadership Team of the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning; as well as the boards of directors for the Center for Applied Special Technology. 

Ash and Berman are both in their mid-60s. They were selected by the Preliminary Screening Committee from a pool of four candidates initially recommended by Human Resources Director Candace Hall.

Serving on the screening committee were Gilbert and fellow School Committee member Joel Blumstein, principals Patty Barrett and Pam Lathrop, teachers Mary Ellen Janeiro and John Jannetti, Assistant Superintendent Nancy Duclos and parents Leo Flanagan and Kim Sousa.


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