Published DateLACONIA — Pleasant Street Elementary School Principal Kathleen D'Haene has resigned and will be returning to Moultonborough Central School, where Principal Dawn Alexander-Tapper recently resigned.
D'Haene served as assistant principal at Moultonborough Central School before coming to Laconia three years ago, when she replaced Charles Dodson.
Laconia Assistant Superintendent of Schools Terry Fostern told the Laconia School Board last night that she has met with staff at Pleasant Street and that the administration is looking in-house to fill the position, if possible. She said the administration will start advertising for candidates next week.
''We're looking at the leadership team and have had individual conversations with staff who may be interested in the opportunity,'' Fostern told members of the board's Budget and Personnel Committee when they met prior to last night's School Board meeting.
Board member Chris Guilmett expressed concern over the turnover at the principal positions in the school district, noting that Woodland Heights Elementary School Principal Dennis Dobe is now the ranking principal in terms of experience with just three years at his job.
All of the district's other principals, Jim McCollum at Laconia High School, Eric Johnson at Laconia Middle School and Kevin Michaud at Elm Street Elementary School have just completed their first years in those positions. McCollum was formerly Middle School principal and Johnson the Elm Street School principal before they took on their new positions.
Guilmett wondered what the average was in terms of service for school principals in a district and Fostern said that in New Hampshire elementary school principals average five years with a school district while the average high school principal is with a district for only two or three years.
Guilmett said he would like to see more ''in-house grooming'' of potential leadership candidates and Fostern noted that there are many staff members who have attained or are working on a Master's degree in educational leadership, making them possible candidates.
The search for a new assistant superintendent to replace Fostern, who will succeed Bob Champlin at the end of the month, has already drawn 26 applications according to Fostern.
She said that a committee of nine people, including Guillmet, are hoping to start interviews next week .
''We're looking for someone with strong leadership skills,'' said Fostern, who added that she is reviewing what parts of her current job she will continue to do and how that will impact the job responsibilities of a new assistant superintendent.
During the board meeting, principals from each of the schools gave a review of what had been accomplished over the last year.
McCollum said that there was measurable academic improvement at the high school and credited Steve Tucker, Academic Coordinator for Teaching and Learning, with bringing increased structure and rigor to the curriculum.
He said that the school now has 20 Running Start Classes, which allow students to earn college credits, as well as seven Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and for the first time, LHS now offers 10 sections of chemistry.
McCollum said there are 58 percent more AP offerings than before and enrollment in those classes is up by 70 percent.
He said the high school is raising student expectations as well as performance and that there has been a significant reduction in discipline problems.