New WLC Principal Tom Ronning talks expectations for coming school year

Tom Ronning is the new principal at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School.

Tom Ronning is the new principal at the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle/High School. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 08-23-2023 11:01 AM

During the Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative Middle High School step-up day for incoming sixth- and ninth-graders Tuesday, new Principal Tom Ronning met with students and parents, introducing himself to the community.

Ronning, who was hired this summer, said he was looking forward to the opportunities afforded to students though WLC’s combined school model, which allows for students in the middle school to potentially take high school classes where appropriate, which could lead to graduating with a head start.

Ronning was most recently the interim principal at Fall Mountain Regional High School, where he  served as assistant principal from 2001 to 2007 and principal from 2007 to 2016. He also has previous experience as a principal of the Newport Middle School and assistant principal in the Hinsdale School District. He has 12 years of experience as a teacher.

Ronning said during his job search this summer, following the end of his interim position at Fall Mountain, Wilton-Lyndeborugh felt like a good fit.

“Through the interview process, I really appreciated the way the interviews were handled and the family dynamics. I was really comfortable with the people I met and the conversations I was having about education,” Ronning said.

Fall Mountain has about 500 students, a little less than double Wilton-Lyndeborough’s middle school and high school population, which currently sits at a total of 286 students.

Since his hiring, Ronning said he has been making connections within the community, including sending a letter of welcome to the parents of the district and meeting with several who wished to talk to him in person, as well as meeting with the Wilton police and fire departments about the school’s safety plans and with the Parent Teacher Organization.

There are several new initiatives Ronning hopes to put in place to highlight a positive school culture, including “Warrior Winner” cards, which can be given to students and notify their parents when they’re recognized for positive attributes, whether scholastically or morally, such as succeeding on a test or helping a teacher or friend.

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Ronning also plans to highlight some of the school’s alumni with posters for the hallway, to showcase what some of the previous students are doing in their adult lives.

Ronning said under his stewardship, some standards at the school will be changing, including implementing a ban on cellphone use during the school day and more consistent enforcement of the existing dress code.

In meetings with faculty, Ronning said cellphones being a distraction was a running theme. He said consequences for using a phone during the day could range from simply being told to put it away, to having it taken for a class period and returned to the student or having it confiscated until a parent could retrieve it, on an escalating basis.

Ronning said the district has not made any changes to its current dress code, but the existing code will be enforced, noting that students should have an expectation that not all environments have equal expectations when it comes to dress.

Ronning encouraged an open dialogue between the district and parents.

“What we really want if for parents to know that we’re there to help their students learn. If you have questions or concerns, call. We’re here to serve the children to develop skills to be successful, whatever that looks like to them,” Ronning said.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.