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Interim deans and principals fill void

JAFFREY — The Jaffrey-Rindge School Board announced plans to employ four administrators in interim positions for the upcoming school year, during a July 24 meeting.

Conant High School Assistant Principal Larry Pimental will continue to serve as interim principal for the high School, and Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School Assistant Principal Rob Clark will continue as interim principal for the middle school. JRMS teacher Lisa Wilkinson will serve as interim dean of students for grades 7, 8 and 9, while Conant Athletic Director Richard Simoneau will be interim dean for grades 10, 11 and 12.

Both deans will be 0.8 administrative positions with 208 days of work. Although the district is hiring one additional administrator, there will be no cost to the public, according to Supt. James O’Neill.

“We took the total amount of money we had allocated for the principal and assistant principal positions, and allocated that money to develop the dean of students and [interim] principal positions. The figures come out to be net zero,” said O’Neill in an interview Monday.

The money allocated for the principal of the two schools and two assistant principal positions is $272,686. That figure will be disbursed among and paid to the two deans and two principals for the upcoming school year, but the final breakdown has not yet been determined.

Pimental and Clark have been acting as principals of Conant and JRMS since John Barth, who was principal of both schools, was put on leave in late March after being with the district since 2006. Barth resigned on June 30, putting pressure on the School Board to hire a replacement before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.

“Not a lot of applications came back. We have under a month until new employee day. We would like to have stability right now,” said School Board Chair Dan Whitney said at Thursday’s meeting.

Jaffrey-Rindge School Supt. Jim O’Neill outlined the duties of the interim dean of student positions. “The dean is specifically in the student management business. They will do no supervision or evaluation of staff,” he explained.

Pimental and Clark have both accepted their positions as interim principals for the upcoming school year and, in fact, volunteered for to do so.

“I would like to thank Mr. Pimental and Mr. Clark for coming forward. It gives us time to make a decision for going forward. The board is not sure of any long-term plans. We do expect input from both the building and the public. It takes a lot of guts to put your hand up and be willing to accept these positions,” said Whitney.

Pimental has been assistant principal at Conant for five years, while Clark has been assistant principal at JRMS for seven.

“I’m honored that you would consider me. I look forward to the challenge. I’m excited about it,” said Clark during the meeting.

Pimental echoed Clark’s comments, saying, “Thank you. I look forward to working with a great staff and great kids.”

O’Neill backed both Pimental and Clark during the meeting, saying, “I’m excited about this new team. I believe both Pimental and Clark could be principal anywhere they wanted.”

Wilkinson taught eighth grade English Language Arts and a replacement has been found, according to the School Board. Simoneau will keep his role of athletic director, and the School Board is currently looking for someone to teach his Social Studies courses.

The next Jaffrey-Rindge School Board meeting will be held Aug. 4.

Dylan Fisher can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235, or

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