Town Focus: North Andover
North Andover offers a sense of place and community on the North Shore.
Photo by Sarah Tamilio
All you have to do is log on to Twitter to see just how excited Jennifer Price is to be North Andover’s school superintendent:
“Fabulous Publishing Party today in Ms. Crosby’s 3rd Grade at Thomson. Great to see these young authors at work.”
“Held my own today at Laser Tag. Great NAMS geography night fundraiser. #lovemyjob”
And why not? North Andover is a town that’s packed to the brim with educational opportunities, from the great public schools to the prestigious Brooks School, to Merrimack College.
“What drew me here was this really strong sense of community,” Price says. “People are very proud to live in North Andover. I never realized how strong that sense was until you actually live it.”
There’s a lot to be proud of, and there are exciting things happening at the public schools. It’s hard to pick only a few of them to highlight, but Price does her best. For instance, she points to the RAISE initiative, which stands for Respect, Achievement, Inclusion, Service, and Empathy, and aims to develop the civic responsibility and character of students, not just academic achievement.
“It’s an interesting community that wants excellent schools and understands that old-fashioned community is really important to raising good citizens,” she says. “These RAISE values teach kids not only to be good students but to be good people.”
One example of RAISE at work is a food rescue project that was being piloted at North Andover Middle School to reclaim uneaten food that would have been thrown away and donate it to a homeless shelter. “If kids haven’t touched it they can reuse it,” she says. “It’s a great way to have kids think about their impact in the world.”
Of course, it’s not just in North Andover’s schools where you find those values. “It’s not just a school thing. It’s the whole community, too,” Price says. “We’re all in this.” Town manager Andrew Maylor agrees, noting that North Andover has made great efforts over the years to preserve its historical assets, and has done an “extraordinary job of protecting open space.” He says the town has about 5,500 acres of conservation land with more than 70 miles of trails. Those trails are maintained and protected by the dedicated team of community-based volunteers in the group Friends of North Andover Trails, who live the RAISE values themselves.
North Andover is also growing and improving all the time, says Maylor. It’s currently in the midst of a multiyear facilities master plan, which will see an investment of more than $25 million in several town buildings, including the department of public works, fire station, schools, town hall, and senior center, as well as improvements to its roads.
“All of that is being funded through a very vibrant capital plan,” Maylor says. In fact, S&P Global Ratings recently raised the town of North Andover’s bond rating to AAA, the highest possible rating.
Maylor is also proud that North Andover is already a fun place to spend time, pointing to not only the wealth of trails and open space but also road races, playgrounds, restaurants and shopping, and fun annual events, like the Sheep Shearing Festival and the many events and festivals at Smolak Farms.
“We have great access and a tremendous amount to do,” he says. “We’re a great destination.”
Date of settlement: 1644
Date incorporated as a city: 1855
Area: 27.8 sq. miles
ZIP code: 01845
Household income: $87,076
Atkinson Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Kittredge Elementary, Annie L. Sargent Elementary, Thomson Elementary, North Andover Middle School, North Andover High School
Poet Anne Brad- street; minister of Boston’s Trinity Church and great-grandson of the founder of Phillips Academy Phillips Brooks; NFL linebacker Zak DeOssie; NFL guard George Glennie; NHL player Steve Heinze; First Postmaster General of the United States Samuel Osgood; actor James Spader.