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Interim superintendent to begin in Franklin, Hill on Dec. 1

Former Barnstead superintendent William Compton will take over as interim superintendent of the Franklin and Hill school districts Dec. 1, working alongside outgoing Superintendent Maureen Ward as she prepares to leave at the end of the year.

“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Compton,” said Kathleen Russo, chairwoman of the SAU 18 school board.

Compton, of Exeter, has more than 30 years of experience as a superintendent between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He retired as superintendent of the Barnstead School District, which he led for four years, in summer 2012. Before that, he led SAU 51, which included Pittsfield and Barnstead, before Barnstead split off into its own district.

The Franklin and Hill board voted 11-1 to give Compton the job Nov. 7, with Franklin member Tamara Feener voting against his appointment, according to meeting minutes. As interim superintendent, he’ll work on a part-time basis of 20 hours per week at $75 per hour, according to the minutes.

Once the newly elected SAU board members take office in January, the board will begin discussing hiring a permanent superintendent, Russo said. Compton has been offered to fill the position until June 30, 2014, but given the time required for a superintendent search, Russo said it’s possible the search for a superintendent could extend longer than that.

Compton will enter Franklin during the third year of a dramatic school improvement plan that Ward helped initiate. He also faces the possibility of sitting on a committee to study Hill’s withdrawal from the district. Hill voters will decide tonight whether to form a committee to study the feasibility of leaving Franklin.

Compton met with leaders in Franklin last week to talk about the school improvement initiative and said he’s relatively well versed in education reform given his long history of leading schools. “I can support the efforts that they’ve already introduced and have carried on the last three years,” he said. “From some of the things I’ve heard, it sounds like they’ve had some success.”

He also presided over Barnstead’s decision to split with Pittsfield, which could be valuable if Hill decides to pursue a plan to leave Franklin.

Above all, Compton sees his role as one of facilitating a smooth transition from one superintendent to another.

“My goal is to help them get through the next six to seven months in the transition (and) take care of the day-to-day operations,” he said.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3390 or or on Twitter @kronayne.)

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