New Leading Men

By Lara Sokoloff

Both the Upper and Middle Schools will have  new heads in September, while former faculty member Rick Commons prepares to take over for Thomas C. Hudnut as President of Harvard-Westlake for the 2013-2014 school year.

Associate Head of School Audrius Barzdukas will replace Harry Salamandra as Head of Upper School, and Upper School Dean Jon Wimbish will replace Head of Middle School Ronnie Codrington-Cazeau, who announced her departure in October.

Commons has served as Headmaster of Groton School in Groton, Mass. for nine years. After leaving Harvard-Westlake in 1997, he was Dean of Students and Assistant Headmaster at the McDonogh School in Baltimore, Md. before moving to Groton. Hudnut announced his retirement in March.

Salamandra, who has been at the school for 33 years, will become Senior Alumni Officer, a newly created position.

Barzdukas has served as Head of Athletics for nine years and was appointed to Associate Head of School for the 2011-2012 year, where he took on roles in advancement, alumni relations and admissions.

“I feel very blessed and humbled to have this opportunity because this school and the community has helped transform my own life and my family’s life,” Barzdukas said. “I pledge, I pledge that I will do my absolute best and work my absolute hardest for our community and our kids.”

Salamandra has recently become more involved in alumni relations.

“I’m really excited about the opportunities, the doors it could open,” Salamandra said. “The last couple years, I’ve been getting more involved with alumni gatherings, and have felt that our alums have so much to give back to the school and want to give back to the school. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to explore areas of internships for present students [and] be able to explore possible employment for students once they’re in college.”

Athletic Director Terry Barnum will serve as the next Head of Athletics.

Upper School Dean Beth Slattery will replace Wimbish as Chair of the Upper School Dean Department.

Foreign language teacher Margot Riemer will step in as Foreign Language Department Chair. Current Foreign Language Department Chair Paul Chenier will return to the classroom full time next year, teaching several Latin and Greek courses and directed and independent studies.

“I appreciate the confidence so many people have shown in me,” Riemer said.

Middle School English Department Chair Ellen Ehrlich will step down after 21 years, having been the department chair since the merger.

Middle School English teacher Jen Dohr will become the second department head starting next September.

“The benefits to the individuals who ‘try on new hats’ are matched by the benefits to the school, as these transitions result in cross-pollination of ideas and the establishment of new working relationships and friendships,” Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said in an announcement to the school.

For profiles of the new administrators:

Rick Commons

Audrius Barzdukas

Jon Wimbish

Terry Barnum

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