Foran High School has a new principal: Max Berkowitz has been named to fill the post left vacant when former principal John Barile left to become the new school superintendent in Bethany.

Berkowitz has 20 years experience as a professional educator and administrator in the Stratford Public School district.

His career began in August of 1993 as a social studies teacher at Bunnell High School, followed by one year as the school’s social studies department head.

In 2002, Berkowitz was promoted to assistant principal at Bunnell and has served in that capacity for the past 11 years.

Berkowitz received his bachelor of science degree from Southern Connecticut State University in 1992 with a major in liberal studies. He later received a master of arts degree in education from Sacred Heart University in 1996, followed by an administrative certificate in education leadership from Southern Connecticut State University in 1998.

“Over the past 11 years as assistant principal, Berkowitz has exhibited an honest and confident administrative style, leading to a high level of respect from all members of the Bunnell community,” Milford school officials said in a prepared release. “He has helped raise student achievement and strengthen the school’s culture for students and staff.”

The interview process included Berkowitz meeting with panels of parents, teachers and students from the Foran community, as well as a group of administrators from across the Milford school district.

“It became clear that he would provide strong leadership at Foran High,” said school spokesperson Kathy Bonetti.

As assistant principal at Bunnell, Berkowitz interacted with all segments of the high school community around a multitude of areas, including curriculum and instruction, facilities, transportation, finances, safety, and student discipline, school officials said.

“He has a wealth of experience in supervising and evaluating staff and a solid level of expertise with the new Common Core State Standards,” according to Bonetti. “He is also well-versed in the teacher evaluation model that is to be implemented, statewide, in the 2013-14 academic year.”

Berkowitz has been recognized among his peers as a person who is a strong collaborator with a strong work ethic, and he demands the same from his staff and students. One of his colleagues commented, “He is also a humanitarian, exceptionally professional with everyone … a strong and compassionate leader.”

“I am honored to have been selected as the new principal at Foran High School,” Berkowitz said. “While I will miss the students, staff and parents of the Bunnell community, I am looking forward to starting on this new part of my career. Clearly, I have a lot to learn about the Foran community in the weeks and months ahead, but one thing I can promise you is I always focus on doing what is in the best interest of the kids. I can’t wait to get started.”

Milford School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser was enthusiastic when speaking of Berkowitz’ appointment.

“We have been engaged in a search for over six months for the right leader for Foran High School, determined that we would not settle,” Feser said. “Mr. Berkowitz is the kind of leader we were seeking. I am thrilled that he is joining the Milford Public Schools and am confident that the Foran community — students, staff and parents — will grow and flourish under his leadership.”

Berkowitz and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of two daughters, Ava, 4, and Sadie, 1. Berkowitz will begin at Foran the first week of August.