When school lets out for the summer at , there is one familiar face who will not be returning to the hallways, longtime Principal, Mr. Michael Cali.
Cali, who lives in nearby Wakefield, said he decided to retire after doing the job of principal for fifteen years and an educator for thirty, because the time was right.
He began his long relationship in the Danvers school system in 1989 as a guidance counselor, and became Assistant Principal in 1994 at the former Dunn Junior High, under Principal Art Johnson. "Johnson," he described. “...was a great person who did a lot for his students.”
In 1997, Cali became principal of Dunn Junior High School, and was instrumental in the building project of the Holten Richmond Middle School.
Although set to retire, he maintains that while he will no longer be on board in an official capacity, he will not be too far away. “I’ll take a little time off for the summer, and then I‘ll come back and work with the new principal, Adam Federico, Assistant Principal from Lynnfield, to transition him in so we have a smooth opening for him and the school in September,” he explained.
Cali still plans to make appearances periodically to keep the lines of communication open with his students. He will also continue to have an interest in the , seeing it through to completion as he did the Holten Richmond project in 2005.
“I won’t totally fall off the grid. I’m still involved in the high school project which involves working with the architect, the project manager, and the building committee to oversee the project from the schools perspective,” he explained. “The Holten Richmond Middle School was a great learning experience for me. I will be working with a lot of the same people, so it’s an easy transition.”
Cali attended Westfield State before receiving his masters from Salem State. No stranger to the classroom, he taught high school as a special education teacher, and said “it’s vitally important to get perspective of how it is in the classroom every day-I did it for eleven years; I have tremendous respect for teachers.”
Cali said during his tenure there are two instances in particular where he witnessed the strength of the community that stand out most for him: the infamous terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the chemical plant explosion in Danversport on November 22, 2006
“In both of those situations, we saw people in the community come together and support each other. That's what makes Danvers stand out...the way people come together in extreme situations such as these for the benefit of students and families,” he said.
Above all, it’s the day to day interaction with his students he said he will miss the most.
“I’ll miss all the students,” he said. “Watching them come in as sixth graders and the amount of growth they experience over the three years is fun to see, and it’s what keeps us going. I’ll miss seeing how much they mature in all aspects.”