Interim head sought for ATC

Tech center director Jalbert is leaving

PETERBOROUGH — The ConVal School District will be looking for someone to head the Region 14 Applied Technology Center, following the recent resignation of ATC Director Don Jalbert.

At Tuesday’s School Board meeting, ConVal High School Principal Brian Pickering recommended that the district look for an interim director, since the 20-year contract between ConVal and the Jaffrey-Rindge School District will expire in 2015. He said it was premature to jump into a search for a permanent ATC director.

“This next year is critical to setting a new agreement,” Pickering said. “Enrollment in some courses is down. There are so many unanswered questions that to establish an interim position is the best way to go.”

The Applied Technology Center offers course intended to prepare students for future careers in a variety of fields, including accounting, building trades, culinary arts, early childhood education and computers and electronics. Most of the classes are held at ConVal High School, although Jaffrey-Rindge hosts the building trades program. The Mascenic School District was also a participant in the Applied Technology Center until it withdrew several years ago and moved its ATC students to a program in Milford.

On Wednesday, Pickering said he met with ConVal Superintendent Brendan Minnihan and Jaffrey-Rindge Superintendent Jim O’Neill after Jalbert resigned in May. He said he recommended putting together a committee from the two districts to discuss options and the superintendents agreed.

“We met and decided one of our goals will be to look at both a new agreement and planning for the ATC program,” Pickering said. “There are new dynamics to consider. Are we offering courses to match the career goals of our students in the 21st century? We may want to add things or consider changing some courses. The interim director will be charged with helping to lead that process and I expect the committee will work hand in hand.”

Members of the committee are Pickering, Jaffrey-Rindge Director of Curriculam and Instruction Ryan Earley, Conant High School Guidance Counselor Charles Langille, ConVal Guidance Director Kim Chandler, ConVal School Board member Crista Salamy and three teachers at the ATC — Deb Coyne, Cheryl Owens and Jean Godlewski.

One of the advantages of hiring an interim director, Pickering said, is that it will open up the pool of candidates, since an interim will not necessarily have to have the professional certification required for a permanent director.

“We don’t want to limit ourselves if the right candidate comes along who doesn’t have the full certification,” Pickering said.

According to Pickering, ConVal pays the salary of the ATC director, the majority of courses are held at ConVal and the majority of students come from the ConVal district.

The School Board agreed to start a search for an interim director and the job will be posted and advertised this week.

Pickering wants to be able to start interviewing candidates early in August.

“I hope to have an interim person on board when school starts,” he said.

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

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