MONMOUTH — A Monmouth Academy graduate and longtime employee will be the school’s new principal.

The Regional School Unit 2 school board voted last week to hire Rick Amero to succeed Scott Bell, who is moving to an assistant principal and teaching job at Hall-Dale Middle School.

Amero lives in North Monmouth and began coaching at Monmouth Academy in 1988. He starting working at the school full-time in 1992. Last year, he taught economics at the academy and was athletic director for the academy and Monmouth Middle School.

“He’s been a longtime teacher at Monmouth Academy and a graduate of Monmouth Academy. We’re really excited about that,” Superintendent Virgel Hammonds said. “He knows the community really well.”

Amero said he hopes to work closely with parents and other stakeholders as the school district implements standards-based education and a “student-centered environment.”

“A critical thing with schools is having involvement,” he said. “One of the things we need to work on as a goal is two-way communication. If people in town have questions with what’s going on in school, I’ll have an open door.”

Amero acknowledged that the desire of many people in Monmouth to withdraw from the RSU adds an extra challenge to his job.

“There’s been some bumps in the RSU, but the most important thing is our students, and that needs to be the focus, no matter what we do,” he said.

There are ways to maintain the traditions and culture of Monmouth schools while being part of a larger unit, he said.

Making Monmouth Academy a safe and healthy place to learn is even more important than academic achievement, Amero said.

A Monmouth Middle School teacher, Christopher Brown, was arrested last month for allegedly loading sexually explicit photographs of children onto two school laptops. And former Monmouth Academy teacher Christopher Dumaine pleaded guilty in 2007 to having a sexual relationship with a student.

Despite past problems at the school and tensions within the regional school unit, Amero said he is looking forward to the chance to create a “shared vision” for Monmouth Academy.

“It’s a pretty special place to me,” he said. “I have tremendous pride in being a graduate, and having taught and coached here.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

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