New Ipswich

Mascenic principal list down to two

Board plans to make decision Monday

NEW IPSWICH — The district has narrowed its pool of candidates to fill the principal position at Mascenic High School to two candidates, one of which will be a familiar face to Mascenic staff.

Tom Kelly, a former assistant principal at Mascenic, is one of the two finalists that district residents got the opportunity to meet on Wednesday night. Kelly currently serves as a director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Education Association. The other candidate up for consideration is Rick Barnes, who is currently working as an assistant principal at Hollis-Brookline High School.

The two candidates made the rounds of Mascenic Regional High School on Wednesday, prior to a scheduled meet and greet at the high school to allow parents and residents to ask questions of the candidates.

As the Uniserv Director for the NEA, Kelly is responsible for advising teaching and paraprofessional associations. Prior to that, he was the assistant principal at Mascenic until 2012. While at Mascenic, he coordinated the partnership between Mascenic and Warwick Mills, a local major defense contractor in New Ipswich, where students could earn core credits while working with the company, as well as other extended learning programs.

Kelly also has experience as a Social Studies teacher at Mascenic, and rewrote the Social Studies curriculum in 2006. Before entering an education career, Kelly was a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, and spent 20 years serving in the New York City Police Department.

Barnes also started his career in eduction in the teaching field. He worked as an English teacher for five years at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, and served as department head for two of those years. In 2008, Barnes moved into administration, serving as vice principal at Kennett High School in North Conway for two years, before taking up his current position as assistant principal at Hollis-Brookline in 2010.

Kelly has obtained a Masters in education administration from Rivier College. Barnes has eared a Masters of Education in Leadership through Northeastern University.

According to Interim Superintendent Betsey Cox-Buteau, the search committee would be satisfied with either candidate the School Board approves.

“The committee was clear to state they thought both were highly qualified,” Cox-Buteau said in an interview Wednesday. The committee made a visit to Hollis-Brookline High School on Tuesday to view Barnes’ home-school environment. The committee also plans to make a visit to Mascenic, the last school Kelly served as an administrator, on Friday, to interview staff and students who operated under his leadership.

Cox-Buteau said that when considering finalists, they sought a candidate who could meet challenges they saw as upcoming issues for Mascenic, including creating a system of intervention for struggling students, implementing common core standards and implementing a professional learning community.

The committee put emphasis on the ability to create a safe environment, knowledge of curriculum and evaluation process, a positive relationship with the union, experience in leadership at the high school level, and someone who understands the community culture, among other attributes, said Cox-Buteau. Surveys of teachers and parents who met the candidates during their tour of the school and meet and greet will also be considered.

The School Board will interview both candidates, and plan to make a final decision during their regular meeting on Monday night at 6 p.m. at the Mascenic Education Center in Greenville.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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