ConVal narrows principal search down to two

  • Michelle Voto, who currently works in research and development for the Region 14 Applied Technology Center, is one of two finalists for the high school principal position at ConVal.  Courtesy photo—

  • Larry Pimental, who is the current principal of Conant High School in Jaffrey, speaks to the graduating class of 2017 at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge on Friday, June 9, 2017. Pimental is one of two finalists for the ConVal High School principal position. (Nicholas Handy / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Nicholas Handy—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 3/13/2018 8:02:57 AM

A committee of members at ConVal have whittled down a group of potential candidates for the high school principal position down to two.

Superintendent Kimberly Saunders said Michelle Voto and Larry Pimental are the two finalists the board is considering for the position.

A call made by the Ledger-Transcript to Voto and Pimental were not returned by deadline on Monday. 

Voto is currently employed in the district, serving in research and development at the Region 14 Applied Technology Center, according to the district’s website.

Pimental is currently the principal at Conant High School in Jaffrey, according to its website. Pimental’s application at ConVal comes on the heels of the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District, which Conant is a part of, possibly consolidating its middle and high school principal position into one job. If the district’s budget passes this year, Pimental’s job at Conant could be on the line. 

An advertisement for the ConVal principal position online says the salary for the job will range between $100,000 to $120,000 per year. 

The search for the position continues after ConVal’s former high school principal Brian Pickering abruptly left the school in December 2016, citing health-related concerns. Pickering has since taken on a position as the girls’ basketball coach at Fall Mountain Regional High School in Langdon.

Gib West, who was ConVal’s dean of faculty, became the school’s interim principal, a position that he has occupied for more than a year now.

ConVal launched a national search shortly after Pickering stepped away from the post in 2016. The school board hired Ray and Associates Inc., a company that specializes in educational executive leadership searches, to help assist with the process. The district paid a one-time flat fee of $15,000 to hire the search committee.

The first search resulted in two finalists, Michael Tenters and Shannon Mayfield. At the time, the district extended an offer to Tenters, who declined to accept its offer. The position was never extended to Mayfield because of a lawsuit that he was involved with at a former educational institution but failed to tell the hiring committee at ConVal about. 

That left the high school in the same position as when it started – without a principal.

Chair of the School Board Myron Steere, who is also on the committee tasked with finding a new principal, said the second process started “awhile back.” He said the hiring committee is made up of a combination of teachers, parents, high school interim principal Gib West, students, and vice chair of the school board Rich Cahoon.

On Thursday, Saunders said the two candidates, Voto and Pimental, visited the high school on Wednesday. Saunders said the hiring committee was slated to meet on Friday to further discuss the two finalists.

Saunders said the two candidates will undergo a background check. Saunders said she will make a final decision regarding who lands the job “shortly.” Steere said a decision should be made within the next week or two. 

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or

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