School board hires interim Concord High principal to replace Sica

  • New Concord School District interim superintendent Frank Bass speaks to a parent at the Abbot-Downing School on Thursday evening, November 14, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 11/21/2019 9:45:44 PM
Modified: 11/21/2019 9:45:33 PM

Michael Reardon will become the interim principal of Concord High School through the end of the year, after a unanimous vote by the Concord School Board Thursday. 

Reardon, a retired English teacher and longtime headmaster of the Pembroke Academy, was nominated by interim superintendent Frank Bass, after a brief search that Bass called “serendipitous.” He’ll start Dec. 2, after the Thanksgiving break, and serve until the end of July 2020.

By taking the post, Reardon will be thrust to the head of a difficult transition process. Former Concord High Principal Tom Sica resigned earlier this month, after months of criticism concerning his supervision of Howie Leung, a former special education teacher currently facing charges of rape. Bass, as interim superintendent, has vowed to help lead the school through a “healing process.” 

Reardon, who holds a Ph.D in literature from the University of New Hampshire, has been teaching since 1976, starting as an English teacher in Walpole, Mass., and working his way up as English  teacher and department chair at Farmington High School; adjunct professor of English at the University of New Hampshire; department chair at the Timberlane Regional High School and headmaster at Pembroke Academy.

Reardon retired from that last post in 2014, after 15 years on the job. 

Reardon was the only candidate considered for the post, said Bass, a personal friend. But he praised the former headmaster for what he said was a career of innovation and warmth.

“He is an extraordinarily bright person,” Bass said. “However that’s not what interests us the most. ...He exudes caring and compassion.”

Reardon helped secure a grant to start the Pace Career Academy in Pembroke, a charter school. And he helped create a summer program to help children who struggle with “summer slump,” Bass said. 

“He has ways in which he can engage students in non-traditional manner. And that’s really what defines Mike Reardon: An ability to reach students where they need to be researched, not necessarily in a conventional high school modality,” Bass said.

Reardon will be work full time from Dec. 2 to April 3, but will switch to part-time work for the remainder of the year in order to receive benefits from the state retirement system, Bass said. 

He'll be paid $75,033 for the year, according to Bass. 

Many on the board seemed unfamiliar with Reardon, but praised his credentials. Finding a principal candidate interested in an interim role and not already under contract in November was a tall order, they said.

In the coming months, Bass will put together a search committee to help find a permanent replacement for Reardon, hoping to make a hire by spring. One potential choice, Bass said would be Reardon. 

“If Mr. Reardon comes through the way I think he will, I think he will be a most interesting candidate for the long term position as well,” he said. 

For one board member, Reardon’s selection was a full circle moment. Reardon was Pam Wicks’s AP English teacher at Timberlane High. 

“He helped me get through it,” she said. “As a teacher that I had in my career, he’s  one that stands out in my mind.”

“I just hope he remembers me,” she joked. 




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