Mascenic unveils superintendent candidates

  • Dr. Christine Martin —Courtesy photo

  • James Lewis —Courtesy photo

  • Residents can meet candidate finalists for the Mascenic Regional School District on Wednesday night from 6-8 p.m. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/18/2019 9:21:41 PM

The final two candidates for the Mascenic Regional School District superintendent have been selected, and are planned to be presented to the public in a meet-and-greet on Wednesday.

Mascenic Superintendent Stephen Russell has officially announced he would be retiring and not returning to the district in his superintendent role after this school year, leading to the district’s current search for a replacement.

This Wednesday night, parents and school officials will have the opportunity to meet the two finalists selected for the position during a meet-and-greet at Mascenic High School.

One of the two finalists selected for the position is Jim Lewis, who is the district’s current assistant superintendent. The other is Dr. Christine Martin, who is currently the principal at the Beech Street Elementary School in Manchester.

Lewis has a Master of Education degree from Rivier University and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the University of New Hampshire. In addition to his current role, Lewis also served as principal and superintendent in the Winchester School District, an assistant principal in Candia and taught at the elementary and middle school levels in Weare.

Martin has a Doctor of Education degree from Plymouth State University and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the University of New Hampshire. The majority of her career has been spent in the Manchester School District in a variety of roles, including as a music teacher, director of the Fine Arts Department, principal and assistant superintendent.

Lewis said he’s worked very closely with the district’s current superintendent and would continue the work they started together, including teacher and student engagement, and ensuring the work is rigorous.

Lewis said if he is appointed to the superintendent position, he’ll be putting in more community face time, continuing the district’s “Community Conversations” with residents, but as well as meeting with local businesses and the town’s Select Boards to try to forge partnerships.

Lewis said he’d like to improve the district’s career and technical education programs. The district already plans to add a licensed nursing assistant program in the coming year, he said, and he’d like to expand the options for students who want career-readiness programs.

Lewis said he would also focus on continuing to improve the district’s testing scores.

“Someone in the state has to be number one, and why not us?” Lewis said. “We have the capability and the talent.”

Lewis said he’d like to continue to develop the district’s pre-school and kindergarten programs, and eventually move to a full-day kindergarten model, if the financials allow.

Martin, who has spent her 30-year career in the much-larger Manchester school district, said she wanted to work in a smaller district in order to be a “much more hands-on administrator.”

“When you’re in such a big district, it’s very much dealing with conflict and fires the majority of the time,” she said. “I’d like an opportunity to work in a community where I could learn every teacher’s name, focus on curriculum assessment and work closely with the administrators and teachers.”

Martin said she is “not the leader that walks in and makes dramatic change,” but would take the district at its current state and work to move it forward based on the current data and in conversation with the current administration and school board.

“One thing I’ve seen about Mascenic is there’s this idea that everyone comes to the table with value. It’s not top-down organization, and everyone’s input is appreciated,” she said.

Parents and residents of the district will have the opportunity to meet the finalist candidates and ask questions during a meet-and-greet opportunity on Wednesday. One finalist will be available for questions and conversation between 6 and 6:45 p.m., and the other from 7 to 7:45 p.m. at Mascenic High School. Both candidates will also be touring the schools on Wednesday, speaking with teachers and viewing the facilities.


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