ConVal: Pickering takes early retirement 

  • ConVal Brian Pickering announced his retirement in December. STAFF PHOTO BY NICHOLAS HANDY

  • Brian Pickering addresses a crowd in the ConVal gymnasium. Pickering was known to command the room without a microphone during such speeches. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, January 05, 2017

Brian Pickering has retired from his post as principal of ConVal Regional High School, citing health-related concerns.

Pickering, who has been on leave since Dec. 20, informed the school district on Dec. 29 that he would take an early retirement, according to statements released Wednesday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce my early retirement from education and departure from CVHS. I am not in a good position to continue working at the pace that would be good for the great students, staff, and community of ConVal,” said Pickering. “It is for this reason that I have chosen to retire, as I need to rediscover balance in my own life.”

Pickering continued, “I appreciate your support as well as our Board and school community during my recent health-related concerns and throughout my six years at CVHS.”

Pickering’s retirement notice was effective at the end of the year, and approved at the ConVal school board meeting Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Superintendent Kimberly Saunders celebrated his work with all members of the community, including students, staff and family members. “Brian had gone on leave and when we spoke with him, he let us know that he was going to retire,” she said.

She noted in the release that he was always advancing the school’s mission of “relentless pursuit of learning for all students.”

Saunders described him as “visible” and “charismatic.”

“Mr. Pickering will be missed by the school community, and I share Mr. Pickering’s confidence in the dedicated and talented individuals who make up the high school’s faculty, staff, and administrative leadership team,” Saunders said.

During his six years as ConVal principal, Pickering established a legacy as one of New England’s pioneers in education leadership. He was frequently called upon to present at education conferences throughout the region on what is being called the ”ConVal Model” after implementing the school’s unique TASC Block system.

TASC stands for Teachers in Academic Support Centers, in which a time-slot is reserved every day for teachers to be available for one-on-one student help. More than 60 schools nationwide have adopted the model since ConVal started it six years ago.

Also a fixture in extracurriculars, Pickering could be seen at many sporting events and was the girls varsity basketball coach for four years.

He was named New Hampshire High School Principal of the Year for 2016 by the N.H. Association of Principals.

Dean of Faculty Gib West has been serving as principal during Pickering’s leave, but Saunders said no decisions have been made on who would replace Pickering.

“Over the next week, administrators and high school leadership will meet to examine how we can best move forward for the rest of 2016-17,” she said.

“The result of these discussions and decisions,” according to the release, “will establish the school’s leadership and action plan for the remainder of the 2016-2017 school year.”

”ConVal Regional High School is an exemplary institution for learning; the focus has been and will remain to provide student with opportunities to learn, to succeed, and to grow,” she concludes in the press release. “The staff and administration will focus on continuing the fine work for which CVHS is known.”