Barth: Familiarity with area a strength

Parents attend meet-and-greet of finalist chosen in principal search

  • John Barth speaks with parents during a meet and greet at Mascenic High School on Wednesday. t

  • John Barth speaks with parents during a meet and greet at Mascenic High Schoo Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, May 30, 2016 9:12PM

Parents were given the opportunity to quiz principal candidate John J. Barth on issues of school morale, communication and discipline during a meet and greet Wednesday.

Barth is the finalist selected by a search committee to replace outgoing Mascenic Principal Tom Marshall, who was not renewed for the coming year.

The decision not to renew Marshall’s contract was a controversial one. A group of students and parents organized a student walk-out on May 16, asking that the School Board review its decision to non-renew him.

Barth is familiar with the area, having served as principal at Conant High School for 12 years until 2014. Barth resigned his position after he was placed on administrative leave for three months, along with music teacher Leonard Holmes, for unspecified reasons. Barth most recently has worked an assistant principal at Stevens High School in Claremont.

“I was energized, working as an assistant principal at Stevens. It gave me back some passion. I want to be back in that leadership role,” said Barth.

Barth said there is some advantage of his familiarity with the area. He is familiar with some of the district employees who he worked with at Conant, and the populations are similar, he said.

When asked how he planned to handle communication with the community, Barth said that he is not opposed to holding something like coffee with the principal, as long as those meetings are productive. He also suggested that the district should hold more fine arts events that could bring in a different parent set than those that attend sports games.

When asked what he would change about the school, Barth mentioned his successes in Conant with improving testing scores, and said he would bring the same strategy to Mascenic. Specifically, he mentioned reviewing the master schedule and how it affects student achievement, implementing year-long math classes, having school-wide writing prompts and using testing data to determine areas of improvement.

When asked about improving morale in the school culture, Barth said that it came down to a change in mindset. “It’s everybody’s job to do that,” said Barth. He added that an important piece of that was to create a culture of respect, not just from students to teachers, but between all members of the school community.

Barth has not yet been confirmed by the school board as the new principal.

The School Board meets next on June 6.