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Author Topic: Gay principals soon take helm at both Newton high schools  (Read 698 times)
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« on: February 17, 2006, 12:12:55 PM »

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff  |  February 16, 2006

The new principals at both of Newton's high schools are young, energetic, and eager to start meeting people in their schools.

They are also both openly gay.

Brian Salzer, 38, who will be the principal at Newton South High School, comes from Sauk Prairie, a small Wisconsin school district near the state capital of Madison, and was the first openly gay principal in Wisconsin.

Jennifer Price, 34, is a doctoral student at Harvard's Graduate School of Education who lives in Newton with her spouse and their two young children. She takes over at Newton North High School in July.

''In the end it's about our leadership and what we do in the schools," Price said yesterday of the dual appointments.

Nathan Bonneau, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association, said he wasn't aware of any other openly gay principals in the Bay State, but could not say definitively whether Salzer and Price are the first.

Many parents said yesterday that the sexual orientation of the principals is not important.

''I don't want to comment on their orientation because it doesn't matter at all," said Mark Wadness, co-president of the Parent Teacher Student Organization at Newton North. ''I think it has no bearing or problem within the Newton community."

But Brian Camenker, a Newton parent and director of a Waltham-based organization that is fighting same-sex marriage, disagreed.

''This is such a blatant, in-your-face move," said Camenker, whose son attends Newton North. ''Nobody else in Massachusetts would do this. Nobody else in the country would do this."

Superintendent Jeffrey M. Young said that Salzer and Price were hired because they were ''the two best principals."

''People should judge them on the way they do their job," he said. ''I am thrilled that they'll be joining our staff."

Salzer said he has always been open about his sexuality, and at Sauk Prairie High School he helped start a Gay/Straight Alliance organization.

''As a coach and a teacher and an administrator, it's not been an issue," he said.

Salzer and his partner of 11 years, Carlos Schillaci, are coming to Newton next week to look for a home. The couple registered in Wisconsin as domestic partners in 1999, but hope to be legally married once they move to Massachusetts.

''Boy, having that is certainly a draw," Salzer said. ''To be treated with the respect of any other family is really important to me."


Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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