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New Principal Andrea Elliot hopes to build momentum at Bishop Brady

Andrea Elliot taking the helm as Bishop Brady's new principal.

Andrea Elliot taking the helm as Bishop Brady's new principal.

The Giants of Bishop Brady High School have a new fan in principal Andrea Elliot.

A New Hampshire native, Elliot arrives at Brady as a career educator with experience in public and Catholic schools.

“I always thought I was trying to make some of the larger public schools similar to the experience at smaller Catholic schools I had been at before,” she said last week. “So when this opened up, I thought it would be a good way to go.”

She officially started July 1, replacing Trevor Bonat, who accepted a job in St. Louis.

Her career has taken her to Trinity High School in Manchester and Bishop Guertin in Nashua, where she served as guidance director. She was academic dean at Dover and Salem high schools, and from 2010 to 2012 she was assistant principal at Concord High School. She said she has always enjoyed the feel of smaller schools.

“I think it’s really a culture of cooperation and collegiality you see to some extent in big public schools, but you have different kinds of relationships with students and families at smaller schools,” she said.

Her experience was a major factor in her hiring, said the Rev. John Fortin, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Manchester.

“We needed somebody who has that kind of background,” Fortin said. “The enthusiasm she brings to the position, too. She’s been in education for a while, but she hasn’t wavered at all in her enthusiasm.”

Enrollment at Brady, one of three diocesan high schools in the state, is expected to be about 350. With school starting in less than a month, Elliot has received a crash course in school operations.

“The first couple of months, I’m going to observe and absorb everything that is Brady,” she said.

Working with Bonat for a few weeks before his departure has helped her transition, she said.

“It was great. I was able to kind of see what coals he had in the fire, and what our immediate needs were,” she said.

Elliot arrives at a time when the school is carrying momentum from its recent 50th anniversary celebration and the full New England Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation it received in June. She and the school’s board of directors will use the NEASC report to help guide the school moving forward.

“The school is moving on to the next phase in development and growth of the school. I think Trevor did a great job and brought it to a great point,” Fortin said. “To bring in someone like Andrea who thinks in terms of what the next steps will be. Not just how do we maintain, but where do we go from here?”

She’ll also oversee a minor change in administration. One of two assistant principal posts is vacant and will be converted to a dean of students position, and a search committee is interviewing candidates for athletic director.

An avid sports fan, Elliot has a fresh vision for Brady athletics. Based on the NEASC report, she submitted a proposal to bring an on-site athletic trainer to help with game day preparations for student athletes and handle injuries during home games. Once an athletic director is in place, she’s interested in forming a committee to look at centralizing where school teams compete. Soccer games are played at NHTI, while football games are played at Memorial Field. A field located behind the school is used for football practices and field hockey and lacrosse, and Elliot said she wonders whether the space has more potential.

“We’re kind of all over the place,” she said. “Over the next couple of years, we’re really going to look at the land back there to see what possibilities there might be to get any additional space.”

These are possibilities Fortin said he supports.

“A big part of any school’s program is sports. There’s a lot of stuff that goes in regarding sports. It’s not often you have a principal bring that up,” he said.

(Iain Wilson can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @iainwilsoncm.)

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