Coe-Brown grad returns to her roots as principal at Chichester Central School 

  • Jessica Richardson —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 8/28/2019 5:34:39 PM

Jessica Richardson, the new principal at Chichester Central School, says a look at her family’s past gave her a roadmap toward her own future.

“I always said that teaching is in my blood,” Richardson said Wednesday by phone, near the end of the first day of school. “I’m the fifth generation of educators in my family and the fifth generation who went to Plymouth State University.”

She’s back home again, having grown up in Northwood and graduated from Coe-Brown Northwood Academy in 2001. She received her bachelor’s degree in childhood studies at PSU, then taught fourth grade for eight years and second grade for one at Northwood School.

Form there, someone she respected suggested a slight change in direction. “During the time I was teaching,” Richardson said, “I had encouragement from a mentor to get my leadership degree from PSU.”

So she went back to school and earned her Master’s, with a K-12 principal certification.

She was hired to be principal at Henry Wilson Memorial School in Farmington, for grades four through eight, where she worked for 3½ years before taking the job in Chichester.

Henry Wilson was categorized as a “turnaround school,” meaning many students there needed improvement in their achievement scores.

“I think I left them on a good path,” Richardson said.

She began work in Chichester on July 1, organizing and preparing for the new school year, which began Wednesday. Besides her duties as principal, Richardson is the chairwoman of the New Hampshire Educational Excellence Awards, or the N.H. EDies, a program created 26 years ago to promote excellence in public education.

The award is given out in four categories and celebrated each June with a big gala at the Center of New Hampshire.

“It’s amazing,” Richardson said. “It’s recognizing the hard work that people do every day. There’s no cooler feeling.”

By then, Richardson will have a year under her belt at a new school. For now, she’s adjusting to her environment and said things went well during the first official day, when kids returned to fill the hallways and classrooms.

“Awesome,” Richardson said of the first day of school. “The kids are fun and I already feel like I am part of the community. I received a warm welcome from the kids and the parents and the staff. The students are very supportive of each other.”

As were family members when it came time for Richardson to choose her career. Back when her grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother attended college to pursue their careers in education, PSU was known as Plymouth State College.

But while school names change, the ultimate goals of teachers and the passion they show for their profession never seem to fade.

“I always loved helping people,” Richardson said.

Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.

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