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ConVal hires high school principal

  • Michelle Voto, who currently works in research and development for the Region 14 Applied Technology Center, was recently selected as ConVal’s high school principal. Voto will assume the role of dean of faculty for the 2018-19 school year and is slated to take on the high school principal position the following year. Photo by Alan Joslin​​​—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/26/2018 5:41:42 PM

After about a year of searching, ConVal has named a new high school principal. 

Michelle Voto, who has been working in the school district since August 2017 developing programs for the Applied Technology Center, landed the position.

Voto said she is “honored and excited” to be transitioning into an administrative role at ConVal during an interview with the Ledger-Transcript Monday morning.

“Michelle brings to the District tremendous energy and enthusiasm, as well as a passion and a significant skill set for providing students with opportunities to succeed,” Superintendent Kimberly Saunders said in an email to parents. “We are looking forward to working with Michelle as she collaborates with the students, staff, and community of ConVal to improve the learning experience for all students.”

The Ledger-Transcript wasn’t able to reach Saunders by deadline on Monday.

The email, which was sent by Saunders, says a plan has been created to transition Voto into the principal position. Voto will assume the role of dean of faculty for the 2018-19 school year and is slated to fully take on the high school principal position the following year.

Gib West, who filled the principal position since Brian Pickering announced an early retirement in December 2016, will continue leading the school for the remainder of this year and the next one.

The email says Voto will spend time during the 2018-19 school year reviewing past and present initiatives, analyzing student and school data, and continuing to develop relationships with the staff, students, and members of the community. The email says it will redesign its administrative structure next school year to make it “more consistent with the size of ConVal Regional High School.” The new administrative structure will be presented by June 2018, which the email says will allow the plan to be properly budgeted for.

By July 1, 2019, Voto will complete the transition into the principal role. At that time, West will return back to the dean of faculty position that he previously held.

In the interview on Monday, Voto said she made her start in education 21 years ago. Voto said she started her career at what was then Hesser College, a post-secondary institution in Manchester that has since shuttered its doors. Voto said she then moved to the Nashua School District where she acted as the director of career and technical education (CTE) within the district. As the director, Voto was tasked with developing curricular programs, implementing instructional best practices, recruiting and supervising staff, and managing budgets and resources. During her time in Nashua, Voto said then Gov. John Lynch was working to change the drop-out age from 16 to 18 years old. In 2005, the dropout rate in Nashua sat at about 205. In 2011, she said the dropout rate within the district had shrunk to about 41.

In 2017, Voto started working at ConVal. She said she made the move because she was looking for the next step in her career.

“We want students thinking outside of the box to challenge themselves and I started wanting that for myself,” Voto said about her decision to switch districts to ConVal. “I felt like it was a really good fit.”

She pointed to the creation of the newly created manufacturing program as a success during her time working for the Region 14 Applied Technology Center. So far, she said, 20 students have pre-registered for the program, including four girls.

Voto said she has been working closely with the administration for some time and the move from the ATC department to an administrative role felt like a natural progression.

“This is a really fantastic school,” Voto said. “I’m looking forward to building a rapport with the community, students, and staff and growing on all the good things that are going on here.”


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