SAUGUS — More than three decades after Rick Doucette tossed his tassel to the left at graduation, he has returned to Saugus High School to be an assistant principal.
“It’s been a long time since I walked these halls, but it’s exciting,” said the 1987 graduate. “It’s nice to feel like you’re coming home. I’m a Saugus person and it’s nice to see friends dropping off their kids in the front. It really has a feeling of home.”
Doucette, a lifelong Saugus resident, was a Saugus Town Meeting member from 1999 to 2007 and served on the School Committee from 2007 to 2009, and later from 2011 to 2013.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in 1991, a master’s degree in business administration from Bentley in 2004, and a master’s in educational leadership from Salem State in 2009.
Doucette taught engineering in North Reading for 16 years. He taught electives that included architecture, computer-aided design (CAD), and the principles of engineering design.
Though he’s gone from a classroom to an office, Doucette said his first week hasn’t been all that different.
“Kids are kids,” he said. “It’s not that much different than where I was. The kids want to learn and I’m excited about it. It was my desire to become an administrator to see if I could make a difference outside of the classroom as well.”
In the next few years, Doucette said he’s excited to help transition students into a new school. North Reading just finished building a new school and he was part of that transition from old to new, he said.
The construction of a new $160 million for a grades 6-12 combination middle and high school is underway beside the existing Saugus High School.
Voters overwhelmingly supported two debt exclusions to allow for the construction of the new school and a restructuring of the entire district during a special election last June.
The new school will be 270,000 square feet with a 12,000 square-foot gymnasium, 750-seat auditorium, and capacity for 1,360 students. It will have state-of-the-art science labs and technology classrooms, fine and performing arts classrooms, a sports complex and outdoor track, outdoor classroom space, and student gardens.
The project is expected to be completed by 2020.
“It’s going to be something special,” he said.