By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — The search begins for a new leader for Pinkerton Academy.
Headmaster Mary Anderson announced her plans to retire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. A search committee will be formed to find her replacement.
The school’s trustees and the newly formed Headmaster Search Advisory Committee also want to hear from the public, local officials and anyone else with an interest in the future of the almost 200-year-old school.
Residents and officials from Pinkerton’s contracted “sending” towns of Auburn, Chester, Derry and Hampstead are all invited to attend a public meeting on Feb. 5 at the new Academy Building’s lecture hall to offer comments on the selection of a new headmaster.
Pinkerton alumni and families of students already attending the school from other school districts are invited to attend.
Anderson announced her intention to step down last year, giving the required two years notice to trustees and sending town officials as part of her contract.
She will have spent 39 years at the Academy when she retires in 2014. She has served as headmaster since 2003.
From 1975 to 1992, Anderson was an accounting teacher at Pinkerton. She served as business education department chairman from 1981 to 1992.
A decade later, she was promoted to assistant headmaster of finance.
She served as project coordinator for two major building projects — the Bradford V. Ek science building and the school’s humanities and fine arts center.
“Together we have continued the academic excellence which is the foundation of the Academy,” Anderson said in a letter to the trustees. “I have worked with some amazing teachers and administrators.”
She said it was a difficult decision to make.
“However, it is time for me to slow down and smell the roses,” she said. “I want to spend time with my family, read, relax, travel and perhaps even do some work on a part-time basis.”
As the search for her replacement begins, trustees will seek suggestions about what skills, experience and characteristics a new leader should have.
Trustees have drafted a preliminary job description to help in the search process.
The draft calls for someone with certified administrative experience, a doctorate in education or relevant experience, experience working with state officials and boards, and resource and fundraising skills.
Anderson said having a good amount of time to search for her successor will serve the Academy well.
“Selecting a headmaster is one of the most important jobs that the trustees have,” she said, “and they need this time to do their jobs.”
The meeting Feb. 5 begins at 7 p.m. in the Academy Building’s lecture hall.