NORTH READING — High School Principal Anthony J. Loprete selected Michael Downs to become the new assistant principal at North Reading High School last week.

Downs, who is the current associate principal at Methuen High School, will begin his duties at NRHS on Monday, Dec. 1. He will be paid an annual salary of $101,731.

Loprete named Downs and Bryan Oelerich, the grade 5–8 assistant principal for the Dr. Albert B. Consentino K-8 school in Haverhill, as the two finalists for the assistant principal job. He said Downs’ experience set him apart from the other 38 applicants who applied for the position.

“The nice thing about the process was it was inclusive, comprehensive and two finalists emerged who would do an excellent job,” said Loprete. “It came down to Mike having more experience at every level. He has been a classroom teacher, department head, assistant principal and associate principal.”

Loprete and Downs met at the high school on Sunday, Nov. 23. Loprete said they discussed general issues, technology issues and discussed the important role communication plays in the school system. Loprete also gave Downs a tour of NRHS.

The high school principal said he believes Downs will be able to make a smooth transition to NRHS.

“We both have a shared understanding of the expectations of the job because we both have done it,” said Loprete.

Loprete said he is looking forward to having Downs join the NRHS team next week.

“I am very excited to get him on board,” said Loprete. “I am confident we will be able to work together for the students and programs we have.”

While a search committee was evaluating the 38 candidates who applied for the NRHS assistant principal job, Loprete engaged the temporary services of retired Concord–Carlisle special education teacher Joseph Hehn to serve as interim assistant principal.