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New principal to take helm at high school

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  • John Barth



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, June 10, 2016

John J. Barth, the lone candidate named by the Mascenic school board, has been confirmed as the new principal for the high school.

The School Board approved Barth during its Monday meeting.

Barth is currently serving as assistant principal at Stevens High School in Claremont. Prior to his position there, Barth spent more than a decade as principal at Conant High School, which serves Jaffrey and Rindge. He resigned his position in 2014.

“I think being an assistant principal has really energized me again,” said Barth in an interview Wednesday. “You tend to move away from being student-directed as a principal, because there are so many other tasks to do, and it’s really nice to get to know the wide range of students.”

Barth was selected as the only finalist by a panel of district employees and a School Board member, and had an hourlong question-and-answer session with parents before being confirmed.

Barth said he will first assess the standard NEASC tests to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the school’s academic goals. Barth said he may bring some math strategies implemented at Conant to Mascenic, such as having Algebra I be taught all year instead of as a half-year class.

Barth was appointed after the School Board chose not to renew current principal Tom Marshall, a decision that caused controversy among some students and parents. Petitions protesting the decision asked for the board to reconsider its decision. Parents and students staged a student walk-out in support of Marshall.

While increasing student achievement is a goal, Barth said he also wants to start a conversation with parents.

“Mascenic is a strong, close-knit community and I want them to be able to talk to me about what is important to them,” said Barth.

Chad Gibson, a parent who attended Barth’s meet-and-greet, said he had been a supporter of Marshall’s, but tried not to let that color his impression of Barth. Gibson said he liked that Barth, through his time at Conant, seemed to have a good grasp of the district and had prior contact with some of its employees. He also said it was difficult without any comparison candidate.

Identifying and hiring a strong assistant principal candidate will be crucial to moving the school forward, said Barth. Assistant principal Matt Underwood resigned.

“That’s first on my list,” said Barth. “I want someone that’s fair, straightforward, honest and organized, and who can have a really strong relationship with students and staff.” Barth said he will invite staff to meet with him this summer. His start date is July 1.

Barth holds a post-master’s degree in educational leadership from Keene State College, and M.A. in school counseling from Lesley College, a master’s in Liberal Science in Criminology from Florida State University, and a bachelor of science in criminal justice from N.C. Wesleyan College.

Prior to his work as a school administrator, Barth also worked as a school counselor for 14 years.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.