Mascenic school board introduces new superintendent

  • The Mascenic Regional School Board, with Superintendent Stephen Russell, met on Monday, June 5, 2017. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Mascenic Regional School Board, with Superintendent Stephen Russell, met on Monday, June 5, 2017. (Brandon Latham / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Brandon Latham—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 6/13/2017 11:47:28 AM

New interim Superintendent Stephen Russell had his first day with the Mascenic Regional School District Monday and was introduced at that evening’s school board meeting.

Russell is serving part-time – three days a week – until the end of June, when his one-year contract kicks in. He is replacing Ruthann Goguen, who left on June 2.

“We welcome him and look forward to a positive year under his leadership,” Board Chair Jeff Salmonson said in the meeting.

After thanking the board and those who made the transition easy, Russell said, “I am looking forward to a good year and continuing the work that is already underway.”

Russell, formerly superintendent in Salem, Massachusetts, and Laconia, will be paid $124,332 for the 2017-18 school year. Mascenic budgeted $125,664 for superintendent salary for this year of Goguen’s contract, should she have stayed.

Russell’s first meeting in his new role covered a variety of subjects as the academic year begins to end.

It opened with a public hearing to ratify voting results from New Ipswich and Greenville’s March elections, during which the Mascenic budget and other warrant articles were passed, along with the election of members Steve Spratt, Tom Falter and Mike Pellerito.

This ratification, mandated by chapter 20 of House Bill 329, was because the voting day was changed, confusing lawmakers who did not know how snowstorms were allowed to effect town meeting, as Moderator Bob Romeril explained.

“I was told they didn’t really care about town elections,” Romeril said of the decision to change the date, but a conference call with the governor revealed more. “He said we don’t really have the right to do that, but make sure to follow these steps.”

The date change was posted at election sites and absentee ballots were available throughout the day. He estimated that fewer than 200 voters were likely to come during the March 14 blizzard.

“Luckily, it didn’t snow today,” he joked after the board unanimously approved the votes.

Technology Director Matt Ballou was there to discuss ongoing hardware plans at the three schools, especially requests for new Chromebooks.

“I can report that after having the Chromebooks for four years they are not in great shape,” he said of the 2012 model tablets used in high school and middle school classrooms.

He is looking to lease 330 tablets with the $32,000 already budgeted to replace those. He is also looking to purchase 80 more to introduce them to the elementary school at the fourth grade level.

“I think it will be a big advantage for our fourth graders getting ready before they go to fifth grade,” Highbridge Hill Elementary School Principal Marion Saari said.

The new books will have added tools, including teacher management, that will help as district curriculum leaders try to prepare students for an increasingly digital job market.

Ballou also recommended a contract for $15,441.79 with PROAB Electrical for seven interactive projectors teachers want to integrate into art, music and social studies classes. The cost includes training. He reported that he is planning with Comcast for Mascenic’s major telecommunications infrastructure overhaul, but physical work has not yet begun.

Extended school year, the summer special education program, will take place from July 5 to 27.

Graduation was Friday, June 2, and school ends next week. Facilities Director Gary Somero said this graduation came and went without any “student interactions,” meaning any vandalism. He was there to begin discussions of year-end facilities improvements. Business Administrator Beth Baker said there is $89,644 reserved for this work.

The board will search for a permanent superintendent in the fall. Russell is living in Putney, Vermont, with his son and looking to move nearer the area.


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