Former Massachusetts principal tapped to take up the mantle in Wilton-Lyndeborough

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/12/2019 5:55:41 PM

In a unanimous vote, the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative School Board elected Robert LaRoche to be the interim principal for the Lyndeborough Central School and Florence Rideout Elementary School.

“I will approach this as any principal entering a new school – trying to quickly get to know the people and the school, and get to be a part of it,” LaRoche said Monday, his first day on the job.

LaRoche, a resident of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, will fill the position for the next year to allow the School Board more time to do an in-depth search with a wider pool of candidates after former principal Tim O’Connell resigned in July to take a principal position in Milford.

LaRoche said he is open to applying for the permanent position if he finds the job is a good fit for both himself and the district.

The elementary school principal in the district heads both the Lyndeborough Central School, which includes kindergarten and pre-school, as well as Florence Rideout Elementary School in Wilton, which includes first through fifth grades.

Most recently, LaRoche served as a principal for Hosner Elementary School in Watertown, Massachusetts. Prior to that, he has worked as an assistant principal for five years, and in the classroom as a teacher in the elementary and middle-school levels.

LaRoche earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1989 and a Master’s Degree in 1995, both from the University of Massachusetts, and did advanced graduate study at UMass Lowell.

Education is a second career for LaRoche, who served in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He began to explore education while taking classes at the University of Massachusetts, and said after his first experience in a classroom at a school for children with special needs, he knew it was for him.

LaRoche said he was drawn to apply for the interim position at Wilton-Lyndeborough due to its rural nature and small classes, and said he hopes to be able to integrate into an involved community of students and parents.

“The thing I love about elementary schools is there are so many people who come in and are part of the process,” LaRoche said.

LaRoche said in his discussions with the School Board, they expressed interest in a candidate who could carry the school culture forward, and continue ongoing work to close achievement gaps in test scores. It is a process he’s familiar with and was a goal at his last post, he said.

“I think it’s already in progress here,” he said. “They’re bringing professional development in to make sure the math that we’re teaching is in line with the testing. They’re doing what I’ve seen be successful in other environments.”

LaRoche said he felt the district’s approach to integrating special education students into general education was in line with his own belief system. In previous districts, he implemented a co-teaching model that included special education instructors co-teaching in general education classrooms with special needs students.

“From what I’m seeing, that’s what they believe in as well – providing the services needed that can maintain participation in general education classrooms,” LaRoche said.

LaRoche said he plans to schedule a day for community members to meet him prior to the start of school.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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