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Merrimack Valley High School Principal Jette accepts assistant superintendent job in Bedford

After 23 years as a teacher and administrator at Merrimack Valley High School, Principal Michael Jette will leave the district in June.

Jette, of Webster, has been named assistant superintendent of the Bedford School District. His last day will be June 30, and he starts his new job July 1. His final interview in Bedford was April 7, and he informed the school board of his decision last week. The school district is advertising to find his replacement.

“There is no doubt I’m going to be sad to leave Merrimack Valley,” Jette said yesterday. “This is where my entire professional life has been. It’s definitely a place that has been very good to me, and I appreciate the support.”

In 10 years as principal, Jette led the high school through major renovations and the implementation of the International Baccalaureate program.

The new job will be Jette’s first district administrator post. “It was an opportunity for growth and to move into a central office and get some experience,” he said. “Bedford is an excellent school district, like Merrimack Valley.”

Jette came to Penacook after college because, he said, Merrimack was one of the few potential employers that reached out to him by telephone. He taught chemistry and physics for 10 years before he was named assistant principal. Three years later, Jette was tapped to be principal, only the school’s sixth since 1929.

“It will definitely be tough to leave, but I’ll also be able to see my mark and know what I was able to do,” he said. “It is a school that has a history with administrators coming and staying and dedicating themselves.”

Chip McGee, superintendent-elect in Bedford, said Jette was selected from a pool of more than 30 qualified applicants from throughout the Northeast. “He’s been a successful and thoughtful science teacher, assistant principal and principal,” McGee said yesterday. “He’s helped MV become a better high school the whole time he has been there.”

In March, the three finalists for the job met with Bedford administrators, teachers, parents and students. While meeting with 10 parents, Jette fielded a question about the lack of air conditioners in classrooms and how that might affect students when the year begins in August. He answered the question, and added humor by impersonating a teenager in a sweltering classroom.

“He cracked up the whole group. It’s clear that he understands kids and he understands parents. They felt completely comfortable with him,” McGee said.

Jette earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Plattsburg. He earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of New Hampshire in 2005.

The Merrimack Valley School District is accepting applications for principal through Monday. Candidates must have a graduate degree in school administration, be certified as a school administrator and have high school administration experience.

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)

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