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PACE Career Academy changing location, leadership

  • A multi-use room at the PACE Career Academy in Allenstown is shown. The charter high school that primarily serves at-risk students in the area east of Concord is moving out of its current facilities at the Suncook Business Park in Allenstown over to 716 Riverwood Drive in Pembroke. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor file

  • The commercial building at 716 Riverwood Drive in Pembroke could be the next space for the PACE Charter School if approved. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • The building at 716 Riverwood Drive in Pembroke as Hilltop Consignments and originally at tool parts store hence the tool sign out front. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Things will look a lot different at the PACE Career Academy next year.

The charter high school that primarily serves at-risk students in the area east of Concord is moving out of its current facilities at the Suncook Business Park in Allenstown over to 716 Riverwood Dr. in Pembroke, near the intersection at Route 106.

And its director, Martin Castle, who has been with the school since its founding, is retiring. The school’s board has picked Jorge Santana, a school social worker from the Boston area, to replace him, Castle said.

Santana beat out about a dozen applicants because of his experience working one-on-one with the types of students PACE works with, Castle said.

“He’s charismatic. He’s got some great experience working with at-risk kids,” he said. The school has also long wanted to beef up its counseling services with a mental health counselor, and Castle said there’s a feeling Santana could help fill that role.

The new space in Pembroke will provide the school with about 2,000 square feet of extra space, Castle said, which will allow the school to eventually expand programming and enrollment. The school has ambitions to one day operate a teaching childcare, an industrial arts program, and culinary classes, he said.

The school will enroll 50 students next year, which is the maximum it is allowed under its charter. Castle said it’s likely the school would ask the State Board of Education to raise its cap soon.

“We’ve found a niche with kids who want a smaller school, a more intimate relationship with staff,” he said.

The school needs a zoning waiver from Pembroke to relocate and plans to put its request before the town’s zoning board Tuesday. Castle said he expects to get the board’s all-clear.