Barzdukas to replace Salamandra as Head of Upper School

By Lara Sokoloff

Associate Head of School Audrius Barzdukas will replace Harry Salamandra as Head of Upper School next year,  Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts announced today in an email. 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 administrative 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 will serve as Senior Alumni Officer beginning next year. He has been at the school for more than 30 years and 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, be able to explore possible employment for students once they’re in college.”

Salamandra said that while he was looking forward to his new position, he would miss his current job.

“I’m still waking up in the morning and enjoying what I’m doing,” he said. ”There’s always uncertainty with change, but I’m excited about the future, I’m enthusiastic that there’s opportunities to reconnect with incredible people.”

Athletic Director Terry Barnum will become the next Head of Athletics.

Upper School Dean Beth Slattery will replace Jon Wimbish as Chair of the Upper School Dean Department, as Wimbish will serve as Head of the Middle School next year. Slattery planned the school’s first ever Academic Fair a month ago.

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

“It seems to me that Harvard-Westlake is entering a period of many changes,” Riemer said. “I’m honored to lead the Upper School Foreign Language Department during this exciting time. I appreciate the confidence that so many people have shown in me.”

Middle School English Department Chair Ellen Ehrlich, the only in school history, will step down after 21 years. 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,” Huybrechts said.