Bergeron finalist to lead WLC
ConVal head to step down in June
Working in a smaller school district sounds attractive to two educators with close ties to the Monadnock region who are the finalists for the school superintendent post in the Wilton-Lyndeborough School District.
Dick Bergeron, the current school superintendent for the ConVal School District, and Christine Tyrie, a Francestown resident and former teacher at ConVal who is now assistant superintendent at the Nantucket School District in Massachusetts, will attend a meet-and-greet event, open to all residents of the district, today at 6 p.m.
Bergeron, 63, has been head of the nine-town ConVal district since 2007. He announced in the summer of 2012 that he would step down as ConVal’s superintendent at the end of the current school year. Bergeron said at the time that he did not plan to retire, but would be looking for another school superintendent position.
“I know a lot about Wilton-Lyndeborough, our neighbor to the east,” Bergeron said in a phone interview on Monday. “It’s a smaller organization, serving two communities with three schools. I think it’s a district that will offer lots of opportunities to meet with people.”
Bergeron said during his tenure at ConVal, the district revised its curriculum to make it consistent for all eight elementary schools, an experience he said could be helpful in Wilton and Lyndeborough.
“I’ve also had a lot of experience with the pros and cons of consolidation of schools,” he said. ConVal has been facing declining enrollment in recent years, but proposals for reorganizing the district have not yet received voter approval; two warrant articles offering different options were both rejected by voters in March.
Bergeron said one of the challenges of working in a larger district like ConVal is making face-to-face connections with residents.
“I’ve tried to do a good job representing the district at the regional events at the middle school and high school. It’s hard to be as visible as people need or want,” he said.
Bergeron, who lives in Peterborough, said he’s applied for a couple of other positions in addition to the WLC job.
“Right now my focus is on WLC,” he said. “My hope is that they’ll see me as a match for their needs.”
Tyrie said that she also enjoys the experience of working within a smaller district. She currently serves as the assistant superintendent in the Nantucket School District, which she said is also a smaller district, although it is still double the size of Wilton-Lyndeborough.
When working in a smaller district, she is able to bring all her instructional and administrative skills to the table, and be really involved with the students and the district, Tyrie said.
“I enjoy that you can use all of those skills in a small district to really work directly with the constituents,” she said.
Tyrie said she would also like to get into education in the area she lives and grew up in. “I live in Francestown. Wilton-Lyndeborough is in my neighborhood,” she said. “I feel a connection to the community.”
Prior to her current position, Tyrie has also served as the superintendent of the Blackstone-Millville School District in Massachusetts, and as the superintendent for SAU 24, which encompasses Henniker and Franklin.
Although she has been working in Massachusetts, many of the same issues that she is dealing with in the school system transfer to issues New Hampshire, Tyrie said, including integrating a common core curriculum and a supervision and evaluation system for teachers.
Tyrie is also experienced with facilities projects, which she said the interview committee was interested in. Wilton-Lyndeborough has been facing issues at Florence Rideout Elementary School.
The Wilton-Lyndeborough job is currently held by Donald LaPlante, who is presently serving as the interim superintendent. LaPlante was hired following the resignation of former WLC Superintendent Trevor Ebel.
Ebel had been earning a $98,000 annual salary at WLC. He resigned in April 2012 following an investigation into accounting for expenses related to professional development trips.
Bergeron’s current annual salary in his final year at ConVal is $162,338, the second highest salary for a school superintendent in New Hampshire. However, Bergeron has not received health insurance through the district or a retirement annuity.
Bergeron said he’d had no discussions about salary with Wilton-Lyndeborough board members. Such negotiations, he said, wouldn’t occur until a job offer is made.
Tonight’s opportunity to meet Bergeron and Tyrie will be in the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle and High School cafeteria at 6 p.m.