By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — After serving as assistant principal at Laconia High School since 2013, David Bartlett has been appointed interim principal for the 2016-2017 school year.
Bartlett will fill the vacancy opened by the abrupt departure of Jim McCollum, who resigned in June become interim principal of Rundlett Middle School in Concord.
A native of Warner, Bartlett earned his bachelor's degree in communication from the University of New Hampshire and his master's degree in education from Plymouth State University. After working in information technology he has spent the last 13 years in the public school system, starting in 2002 at Laconia High School, where he was an alternative education teacher while managing the study hall program. Three years later, Bartlett went to work in the Gilford School District, teaching special education students for three years and eighth-grade mathematics for four years.
Bartlett said that altogether he has had six years of experience teaching alternative and special education students.
"This is a very rewarding group of students to work with," he said.
When Bartlett returned to Laconia High School as assistant principal he played a major role in introducing the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or PBIS, program. PBIS rests on the notion that appropriate behavior can be taught just like core subjects of the academic curriculum by setting positive expectations for students rather than telling them what not to do. The program aims to maximize the time students spend learning by reducing the number referrals to the office for inappropriate behavior, which take both the student and the teacher out of the classroom.
Bartlett stressed that the behavioral and academic elements complement and reinforce one another, explaining that appropriate behavior and regular attendance enable students to access and master the academic curriculum. He also designed and managed the master schedule, worked with the Strategic Planning Committee of the School Board and led the Child Study Team.
As interim principal, Bartlett said that he intends to continue the initiatives already underway, particularly the PBIS program and curriculum development.
"This is a wonderful school and a great opportunity," he said. "We're not going to be changing the things that are most important to this school."
Bartlett will be leading a new administrative team at the high school. Angel Burke of Bow High School has been appointed as academic coordinator, replacing Steve Tucker, who left to become director of curriculum at the Gilford School District. Brian Berkowitz a veteran of Laconia High School, has replaced Amy Hinds, who has been named assistant superintendent of the Laconia School District, as coordinator of student services. In addition, Bartlett said that the process of hiring an assistant principal to succeed him is nearing its conclusion.
Bartlett discounted the challenge of changes in leadership, welcoming what he called "a great opportunity."