LYNN – In choosing a new principal for the Robert L. Ford Elementary School, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Catherine C. Latham was looking for someone experienced in an urban school district with a strong background in curriculum and data-driven instruction. She found that person in Joanne M. LaRivee.A 39-year veteran of Lawrence Public Schools, LaRivee accepted an offer from Latham Sunday to replace Dr. Claire Crane, who retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year. Debra Ruggiero, principal of the Harrington School, has been serving as acting principal at Ford.?She is an exceptional candidate,” Latham said of LaRivee, assistant principal at South Lawrence East Middle School. “She has a great deal of experience in curriculum development and instructional technology. I think she will be a very good fit.”A lifelong resident of Lawrence, LaRivee has been a middle-school assistant principal since 2011. She previously served as an interim assistant principal, literacy coach and curriculum facilitator, after teaching for 13 years at the middle- and elementary-school levels.?I?m very excited about this opportunity,” said LaRivee, whose in-laws, Mel and Eileen LaRivee, are Lynn natives. “I?ve wanted the opportunity to serve as an elementary principal because of my educational background.”LaRivee said she finds working in an urban district “exciting.”?I enjoy reaching out to English language learners and coming up with strategies to help them improve their skills in math, reading and critical thinking,” she said. “It is rewarding work.”LaRivee, who will start Jan. 5, she plans to talk with teachers and examine the curriculum. “I?m very much data-driven,” she said. “We?ll look at the sub-groups on the MCAS and our ELL strategies.”Latham and her senior leadership team interviewed the finalists that were put forth by a screening committee that included two Ford teachers, a parent, a community member, a Lynn Public Schools principal, three School Committee members and a representative of the Friends of High Rock Reservation. A total of six candidates went before the screening committee, three from within LPS and three external.LaRivee earned a bachelor?s degree in early childhood education from Salem State University and a master?s in education from Suffolk University. She participated in a Leaders in Educational Advancement cohort and earned an Educational Specialist degree in administration, planning and policy from UMass Lowell. She has also completed the National Institute for School Leadership program sponsored by the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.She and her husband, James, have two adult children, David and Mary Beth.