ConVal board names new principal for South Meadow School

PETERBOROUGH — Anne O’Bryant, a 36-year veteran of the Chelmsford, Mass., school system, was named principal of South Meadow School in Peterborough on Tuesday.

O’Bryant, 59, served as a teacher, a dean, and eventually as principal of Chelmsford High School. She retired from the Massachusetts job a year ago. She is currently an assistant principal at Monadnock Regional Middle-High School in Swanzey, with responsibility for the middle schoolers in grades 7 and 8.

“Massachusetts has an early retirement system,” O’Bryant said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I just wasn’t ready, so I looked for jobs in New Hampshire and I was fortunate to be hired at Monadnock.”

O’Bryant has lived in Merrimack for 26 years. Her husband, William, works as a designer draftsman for Bose Corp. in Framingham, Mass. She has three adult children, a son and two daughters who both graduated from Keene State University.

“I got to know the area when they came here for college and I love it,” O’Bryant said. “Once they graduated, now I’m over here and they’re not.”

O’Bryant applied for the South Meadow job when it opened up last fall, after principal Dick Dunning announced his plan to retire at the end of the current school year.

She said she was excited to be joining the team at South Meadow, which was New Hampshire’s middle school of the year in 2012.

“It’s obviously a very successful school,” she said. “It has a wonderful foundation. I want to support the rich culture they have there.”

In Chelmsford, the school O’Bryant ran had about 1,700 students in grades 9 to 12. Monadnock has 854 students this year, with 282 in the middle school grades. O’Bryant said she works closely with both middle school and high school students at Monadnock and she hopes to continue doing that at South Meadow.

“I love the close connection they have to the high school. I think it affords a lot of opportunities,” she said.

O’Bryant said she was attracted to the job by the reputation of the ConVal district.

“The welcome I got last night was wonderful,” she said. “I think [ConVal] is a fabulous community. The voters there have always been positive in supporting the schools. There appears to be strong support for best practices in education. I think supporting professional learning communities for our teachers is important. When you have professionals collaborating with each other, you can get the best from everyone and it benefits the students.”

O’Bryant said she met Brendan Minnihan, who will be taking over as ConVal’s school superintendant, during the final round of interviews for the job and was looking forward to working with him.

Her commute from Merrimack to Chelmsford took about half an hour, O’Bryant said, and she’s found it takes about that amount of time to get to Peterborough as well.

“I’ve gotten used to going over Temple Mountain,” she said.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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