Outgoing Lenox schools chief Timothy Lee hired as Muddy Brook Elementary principal

Lenox Schools Superintendent Timothy Lee told The Eagle he was a finalist for principal in three local elementary schools. He has accepted the position at Muddy Brook Elementary School in Great Barrington.

GREAT BARRINGTON — Outgoing Lenox Schools Superintendent Timothy Lee has been chosen as the next principal of Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, a district official announced on Thursday.

Lee, who will replace outgoing principal Mary Berle, has been at the helm of Lenox schools four years. He is a former principal at Morris Elementary School there, and was also a principal at a school in Norfolk, Conn., and at two schools in Wisconsin, according to Peter Dillon, superintendent of Berkshire Hills Regional School District.

In an email, Dillon said that he was "confident that Tim will build on Mary's and Muddy Brook's many successes."

Lee, who is originally from a suburb of Chicago, told The Eagle last month that he, too, was ready to do something different.

A resident of Great Barrington, Lee told The Eagle that he was a finalist for principal at three local elementary schools, and chose Muddy Brook after visiting the school last week and meeting faculty, staff and students. He said he was taken with what he described as an enriching culture, and that this hastened his decision.

"I found a group of kids that seemed to be really engaged in their learning, and saw teachers doing really creative things with their teaching," he said.

Lee, 54, also said his two daughters had attended the school and that his visit there felt like a "reconnection with his community school."

Lee began his career as a Spanish teacher in Cambridge and Brockton after graduating from the University of Iowa, Dillon said. He later completed master's degrees at Simons College and Harvard's Graduate School of Education.

Berle, who was principal for 13 years and held other positions at the school before that, announced her resignation in February, saying she was leaving to pursue "the next adventure," having reached a new stage in her life.

"My youngest just graduated and is a freshman in college," she said, noting that before she spent more than a dozen years as an educator, she worked for 10 years at a research and development firm."

Lee, who will earn a salary of $114,000, was hired after three-month search conducted by a committee of more than 26 people, including teachers, paraprofessionals, other staff, administrators and parents. He starts his new job in August.

Reach Heather Bellow at hbellow@berkshireeagle.com or on Twitter at @BE_hbellow and 413-329-6871.