Methuen High School Supervising Principal Richard Barden – a proud Ranger alum who led, taught and coached in Methuen Public Schools during a 23-year career – announced in an e-mail to MHS families that he has resigned, effective June 30. He’s been MHS principal since 2015.

Barden is moving on to serve as principal of Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield. Northeast serves 12 North of Boston communities and has an approximate enrollment of 1,250 students.

“I will be forever grateful to the students, families, administration, faculty, and staff I have had the privilege of working with and learning from. Your support and dedication have been unwavering, especially in the most challenging of times,” Barden (MHS Class of 1996) said, in part, in the May 28 message.

In a follow-up message to MHS staff and families May 31, Superintendent Brandi Kwong wrote, “Mr. Barden has inspired students and faculty to strive for greatness and has served as an excellent role model. He has taken great measures to ensure that all students have access to exceptional educational opportunities. Mr. Barden is a remarkable leader, and I deeply appreciate his years of dedicated service to the Methuen Public Schools and the Methuen community at large. Mr. Barden will be missed and we wish him well in his new role. He will always be a part of Ranger Nation.”

When MethuenLife posted the news on its Facebook page, there was a flurry of well wishes from current and past co-workers, MHS families and students. “A great leader,” “truly a class act” and a “positive influence” were some descriptions of Barden. Various posts thanked him for his involvement with everything from tackling substance-misuse issues and setting high expectations for students, to “helping to improve the environment & experience of the (special) needs kids.”

Kwong is appointing MHS Associate Principal Anthony Curet to the role of MHS interim supervising principal for the 2024-2025 school year, effective July 1.

“A member of the MHS Class of 2002, Mr. Curet is a longtime MPS educator who has held teaching, coaching, and administrative positions at Methuen High School,” Kwong continued. “Mr. Curet also served as an associate principal at Haverhill High School from 2017-2021 before returning to MHS. I am confident that Mr. Curet will continue to positively serve the MHS community in this new role and will hit the ground running on July 1.”

Kwong intends to fill Curet’s current associate principal role with a 1-year interim appointment.

“In late winter, I will establish a hiring committee to launch the hiring process for the permanent MHS supervising principal position, which will start on July 1, 2025,” Kwong stated.

Prior to serving as MHS’ supervising principal, Barden was an associate principal there. He was also a math teacher at MHS and the Timony, and coached MHS boys basketball.

Richard Barden, who graduated from Methuen High in 1996, has been principal at his alma mater since 2015. ML file photo