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Jaffrey-Rindge hires interim assistant principal

  • Michelle Durand, right, has been hired as the interim assistant principal of safety and culture at the Jaffrey-Rindge middle/high school. Courtesy photo

  • An aerial view of Jaffrey from Conant High School. Staff photo by Ben Conant



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, November 01, 2018 1:5AM

The Jaffrey-Rindge School District’s interim assistant principal of safety and culture will be a familiar face to many. 

Michelle Durand, who has worked at the middle school for the past 17 years, will fill the position that has been vacant since the start of the school year when Richard Simoneau resigned. 

“I grew up in Jaffrey, reared children in the community and I am deeply invested in this school community,” Durand said, in an email Wednesday. “My knowledge and experience of middle level learners will help facilitate a smoother 6-12 merging process.”

Superintendent Reuben Duncan said Durand will transition to the administrative role by Nov. 12. Durand was hired at a prorated salary of $68,000. 

A long-term substitute will be hired to fill out the school year for her classes.

“She has a good understanding of the operations in the middle school,” Duncan said. “We wanted to make certain the individual hired understood the workings of Conant High School and Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School. Michelle has that knowledge with the district.”

Durand said it is difficult to weigh out what will be the biggest challenge about transitioning from the classroom to the administrative office, but said she is eager to support educators and learners at the middle and high school.

“My current seventh graders are a great team and I will miss creating classroom opportunities for them to evolve into more independent learners,” Durand said. “While my instructional program always included real life integration that promoted resilience and empathy, focusing the majority of my time on creating opportunities that guide healthy coping skills, self-awareness and regulation will be a significant adjustment.”

Over the past year, the school district lost all four principals from the 2017-18 school year at the middle and high school.

This year, the district transitioned to one principal for the middle and high school with two assistant principals, one in charge of safety and culture and one in charge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

Brett Blanchard was tabbed as the new middle/high school principal over the summer, while former Conant High School teacher David Dustin was hired as the assistant principal of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. 

Duncan said that with the position being interim, Durand will work through the school year. The district will advertise for the permanent position in the spring.

“I am choosing not to look at this position as temporary or permanent but rather an opportunity to support the school in moving in the direction that is best for kids,” Durand said. 

Duncan said Richard Nannicelli, who had been filling in until an interim was found, will continue serving the district as a mentor on part-time basis. Nannicelli previously worked at Great Brook School in Antrim.

Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or nhandy@ledgertranscript.com. He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT.