Jaffrey-Rindge hires full-time athletics director and activities director

  • Superintendent Reuben Duncan, School Board Chair Laurel McKenzie and Vice-Chair Charlie Eicher discuss a proposal to hire both a full-time activities director and a full-time athletic director.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Superintendent Reuben Duncan outlines a plan to hire both an athletic director and activities director. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Tammy Cummings questions the priorities of hiring both an athletic director and activities director, instead of a school resource officer.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcripts
Published: 5/21/2019 12:59:49 PM

After several weeks of controversy and feedback, the Jaffrey-Rindge School Board has voted to split the position of activities director into two full-time positions, hiring both local favorite and current Athletic Director David Springfield and district newcomer Heather Linstad.

Both Springfield and Linstad have accepted the positions, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Vivianne Rocheleau said Tuesday morning. The extra full-time position adds $100,000 to the budget, which board members said would be accommodated through attrition.

During Monday’s School Board meeting, Superintendent Reuben Duncan proposed the district split the position into two jobs: A full-time athletics director and a full-time activities director.

Following the discussion, the board added the nomination of Linstad for activities director and Springfield for athletic director to the agenda. Both nominees were approved unanimously, along with a slate of other nominations for next year.

The activities director was proposed to be a new position this year, absorbing the existing part-time athletic director, a position held by Springfield for the past two years. Parents and students attended the past few School Board meetings to advocate for Springfield for the position, after hearing the district did not plan to nominate him for the full-time job. Springfield supporters also circulated a petition and held a gathering with protest signs in support of him at the center of Jaffrey. The district initially put forth Linstad, a former Division I hockey coach, as its nominee, but then withdrew that nomination for further vetting.

Following that vetting, Linstad still “is the choice,” Superintendent Reuben Duncan told audience members during the board’s meeting on Monday.

However, he said, he also found reason to increase the athletics director position to full-time – a long-standing request that led to the creation of the activities director in the first place.

Duncan said there was still a need for a position to better coordinate fundraising and integrating community programs, such as the Recreation Department, into the school, and better coordination for clubs, which would fall under the role of activities director.

The district budget for a full-time activities director is about $70,000 in salary, plus benefits, with a total of about $100,000, Duncan said.

“We’re doubling that scenario here,” he said when asked about the funding of the position.

Duncan said the cost could be absorbed into the budget through not re-hiring for the position of a part-time coordinator for the district’s Infinity Program, as the teacher is retiring this year and eliminating the role of curriculum manager.

Some in the audience questioned the need for two full-time positions.

“I think this is a great idea … if we were an independently wealthy district,” Jaffrey parent Tammy Cummings said.

Cummings was one of the parents who said earlier in the meeting, during a discussion of a recent threat made by a student toward other students, that the school should bring back a resource officer to school.

“There are things that are broken and need to be fixed. I see this as something that’s doing a pretty good job right now,” Cummings said.

Eric Fisk of Rindge agreed, calling the additional position “frivolous.”

Jennifer Horne, director of student services and a Jaffrey resident, objected to that, noting that there was a reactive and a proactive way to react to students who are feeling frustrated and isolated.

“Proactively is slower. It’s a slower way to handle things, but it works better. This proposal allows some proactive approach to these issues,” Horne said.

School Board Vice-Chair Charlie Eicher said he found the proposal to be a good one.

“My concern has always been the student who just leaves school and goes home and plays video games,” he said.

Eicher noted that hiring an athletic director and activities director did not rule out the board re-visiting the concept of a school resource officer if that was the will of the community.

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


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