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New ConVal principal Heather McKillop right at home in Peterborough

  • Heather McKillop recently took over as the new principal of ConVal High School. Staff photo by Abbe Hamilton

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/31/2020 10:46:38 AM

ConVal’s new principal Heather McKillop said she is ready to listen, observe, and support the school community this fall regardless of what form instruction takes.

McKillop most recently served as Assistant Principal of Nashua North High School. She has also been an adjunct professor, an assistant director of student-athlete support services, an English teacher, and a lacrosse coach. She holds an MA in teaching, an MS in school health, and a BA in English.

After her first week on the job, which began July 3, she said the ConVal High School community has already made a very positive impression. “I think there’s a great community here,” she said, and that she’s been impressed with her interactions so far with district and high school administrators.

“I’m excited to meet the multiple stakeholders that are involved in the school community, and I’m here to support the students and families,” McKillop said, and that she’s eager to build the school’s sense of community and be as visible as possible.

McKillop started her educational career as an English teacher. “I loved working with the students and collaborating with fellow colleagues,” she said, characterizing herself as a teacher at heart. As an administrator, she said she loves providing support to staff and having mentoring conversations with students. “Even [when] assigning discipline, it wasn’t about the punishment,” she said of her most recent position, but rather “a mentoring conversation – what led you here.”

One of McKillop’s former principals in Connecticut encouraged her to continue her education in pursuit of an administrative position, she said. Leadership roles feel like a natural progression to McKillop, who found them while working as a teacher and an athlete-turned-coach.

McKillop played lacrosse in college, and coached every year of her education career until she took an administrative position in Nashua, earning accolades along the way, and relished the “awesome” opportunity to fill in as an assistant coach last year. “I’ve been fortunate to coach a lot of players that continue to play at the collegiate level,” she said, and that she looks forward to cheering on the Cougars.

McKillop attended school in Nashua as a child while moving around a lot with a father in the military, and continued to visit her New Hampshire family several weekends a month while attending college in Connecticut. She and her family ultimately opted to move to Peterborough two years ago, and fell in love with the town and its surroundings. “I plan to be here for the foreseeable future. I want this to be my new home away from home,” she said.

McKillop acknowledged the uncertainties of the upcoming year, and asked the community for flexibility and openness to communication. “This is a tough time,” she said, with many members of the school community dealing with personal or family hardships due to COVID-19. “The students are putting one foot in front of the other, and parents are trying to be flexible,” she said.

“I’m looking out my window,” she said during an interview, adding that she couldn’t wait for the day the vista changes to a parking lot full of cars, students in the classroom, and teams playing on the fields with crowds of spectators. “There’s a lot to look forward to,” she said.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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