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Mascenic residents meet superintendent candidates

  • Superintendent candidate Jim Lewis speaks with Mascenic residents at a meet-and-greet on Wednesday night.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Superintendent candidate Christine Martin speaks with Mascenic residents at a meet-and-greet on Wednesday night.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/25/2019 1:08:42 PM

Both candidates for the position of Mascenic School District superintendent made pledges to be active in the school and wider community if they are hired for the position.

Dr. Christine Martin and Jim Lewis met with district parents on Wednesday night in the Mascenic Regional High School library, answering questions about their leadership style and educational views. One of the two is likely to be the district’s next superintendent, with the School Board expected to make a decision within a week on which to hire to replace out-going superintendent Steve Russell.

When asked how they would improve teacher retention in the district, Martin said the key was to create a “culture of value,” in which staff knows they are listened to.

She said her first week at her current job as principal at Beech Street School in Manchester, she handed out paper to teachers and simply asked them “What’s on your mind?” She started addressing the issues that had been most glaring to the most teachers first, she said.

Lewis, who is the current superintendent in the district, said the teachers in the district were dedicated and involved, and needed a consistent leadership. The last few superintendents have only been with the district a few years at a time, he pointed out. If hired, he said he was looking at the long haul.

“I’m looking at 10 [years],” he said.

Both candidates said they would be interested in exploring a competency or standards-based grading system, and said there should be less grading value placed on homework.

“Grades can be subjective,” Lewis said. “Your ‘A’ might not be my ‘A’.”

Martin said she had experience with competency-based grading, if the district wanted to move in that direction.

When asked about the district’s trade programs, and emphasis on attending college after high school, Martin said it was important to “value the values of the district.” In Mascenic, she said, the numbers were essentially even when comparing how many students went to college and how many entered the workforce after school.

“I think it’s important to push is the opportunity,” she said. “Do kids have the opportunity to go to college, do they have the opportunity to go into the workforce, do they have the opportunity to go into the military?”

Lewis said he’d try to re-establish partnerships with community businesses and add more extending learning opportunities outside of the school setting.

Both candidates said they’d like to add trade programs, such as re-establishing the building trades program, and re-establish a connection with ConVal High School for shared classes.

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


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