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Merrimack Valley School Board names David Miller new principal

Like its search for a new superintendent, the Merrimack Valley School Board’s efforts to find a new principal ended in the Kearsarge Regional School District. The school board recently unanimously approved the hiring of David Miller, assistant principal at Kearsarge Regional High School, to replace Michael Jette, who will be the assistant superintendent in Bedford next year.

Earlier this year, the board hired Mark MacLean to replace outgoing Superintendent Michael Martin. MacLean is currently assistant superintendent in Kearsarge.

“I think most impressive to me was what I heard from a variety of people and teachers who knew him,” Assistant Superintendent Chris Barry said, referring to Miller. “We heard about his relationship building and the fact that he is a very collaborative person and a good listener.”

A committee made up of teachers, support staff, students, parents and administrators met and vetted candidates, then gave feedback to the full board before the final vote. The board conducted six screening interviews from an applicant pool of about two dozen candidates.

“His intellect, his calmness and his delivery – people thought overwhelmingly that he should continue further into the interview process,” Martin said.

The final stages of the hiring process included three phases: meetings with faculty and building staff, meetings with community members and tours of the high school. Merrimack Valley leadership also visited Kearsarge. The decision was made May 28.

Jette’s last day is June 30, and Miller will begin July 1. Tasks for the summer will include making sure the school’s faculty is fully staffed and confirming that all school materials are ordered and received. Miller will also work on resolving any student scheduling issues with classes before the school year starts.

Starting in July will allow Miller to become familiar with the new situation. “It requires meeting with people and getting familiar with the people and how the building functions,” Martin said.

During interviews, the search committee noted Miller’s skills in building relationship with parents and students.

“He is an expert teacher, and his educational experience is very strong,” Barry said. “He’s a very visible kind of person out in the community.”

Miller has been assistant principal at Kearsarge for three years. He helped develop transition programming and information booklets for incoming freshmen, Superintendent Jerry Frew said. He also has had leadership roles in revising the student handbook, and he helped improvement the food service programs.

“He really is someone who is an all-in kind of guy,” Frew said. “We hate to lose him because he’s a high-quality individual.”

“He deals very well with parents,” he added. “He just connects with all types of kids. I can envision him in the hallway saying hello to everyone. He’ll know the kids, he’ll know their names, and he’ll know their families.”

Miller also helped create and implement a teacher supervision and evaluation system for the high school.

“He is solid and well-versed in instruction. He knows the practical implications of administrative decisions,” Frew said.

Frew joked that the annual homecoming game may now take on a little more meaning, and said the moves represent a link between the two districts that could be beneficial.

“We are two close school districts, and we will remain that way,” Frew said, referring to the similarities in geographic size and regional structure of the districts.

“We can explore partnerships with MV and Kearsarge, and try to leverage collective professional development clout,” Frew said. “We can use shared experiences.”

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

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