09-11 Bob Champlin

Bob Champlin

LACONIA — Former Laconia School Superintendent Bob Champlin is running a write-in campaign for the at-large School Board seat being vacated by Michael Persson.

Champlin said he learned only last week that nobody was running to succeed Persson. He was encouraged to run by former Mayor Mike Seymour, who also is a former school board member.

Champlin will need to receive 35 votes to advance to the November general election ballot, City Clerk Cheryl Hebert said Monday.

Champlin, 62, resigned as superintendent five years ago to deal with some health issues. He had served 31 years in the city school system, 13 as superintendent.

He said he contacted School Board Chairman Mal Murray and teachers' union president Deb Tivey and both were encouraging when he said he was considering running.

Champlin served as superintendent during a time in which the district improved facilities, including adding a new middle school.

He worked this summer with Got Lunch! Laconia, a group that provides food to needy young people.

Champlin said he doesn’t have a specific agenda.

“I was very impacted by Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which counsels to seek first to understand and then to be understood,” he said. “I need to find out what’s going on, ask the board and the administration and see where I can help out.”

He also said he’s a big fan of the book, “From Good to Great.”

“One of my takeaways from reading that is you can always find places to improve, and if you start with the strengths of an organization, there is always something to build on,” he said.

He said his mantra is “Be positive, stay focused, make it happen.”

Before he became superintendent, Champlin was a school counselor, assistant principal and principal at Woodland Heights Elementary School. He holds master’s degrees in counseling and administration from Plymouth State University as well as a certificate of advanced graduate studies.

He and his wife have three grown daughters, two of whom are teachers while the other works in the technology sector in Boston.

Meanwhile, Persson, an attorney, said that, when his term as a school board member ends, it will be the first time in 15 years he has not been on the board of a governmental or nonprofit organization. He said he’s ready for a “bit of a break” from serving on a board.

Murray, who represents Ward 1 on the board, and Heather Lounsbury, who represents Ward 6, are running for re-election. Neither one drew a challenger.

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