Familiar faces to lead Concord School District

  • Joanne Magarian talks with her friend and poll worker Lucy Gentichemme outside the Ward 4 polling place at the Boys and Girls Club on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER

Monitor staff
Published: 11/2/2021 8:40:39 PM

The Concord School District has some newly-confirmed leaders with familiar faces this week, including its superintendent, and two of out of three returning school board members.

The Concord School Board voted unanimously Monday to approve a three-year contract for Kathleen Murphy, who has been the interim superintendent for the last 16 months. The contract will last until 2025, and Murphy will earn a salary of $167,000 per year.

“I’m excited to be able to help you, but mostly to help the kids and families and to try to move forward, that to me is what it’s always about,” Murphy told board members Monday. “I try to make decisions based on what kids need. I value your input and the input of the community and I love this work, so it’s easy for me and I’m pleased to serve this community.”

On Tuesday, voters went to the polls and elected three at-large school board members and nine charter commission members.

Newcomer Bob Cotton won an at-large seat on the school board with 2,137 votes. He will be taking over for current board member Danielle Smith, who decided to not seek re-election . Incumbent Pamela Walsh, who is currently serving a one-year term on the board, was also re-elected with 2,480 votes to what will be her first full three-year term. Incumbent school board member Barb Higgins was re-elected with 1,851 votes to what will be her fourth term on the board. All three members will begin their new terms in January 2022.

The race became uncontested after candidate Timothy Benitez announced he was dropping out a week before voting day. His name still appeared on the ballot and he received 783 votes.

Murphy took over as interim superintendent in June 2020 for what was intended to be a one-year position while the school board conducted a nationwide superintendent search. Murphy agreed to stay on as interim for a second year after the district’s search consultants at the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) advised the board in Fall 2020 that finding an array of candidates would be difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. In September of this year, the board voted to begin negotiating a more long-term contract with Murphy, a decision members said was based on positive results of Murphy’s August performance review.

“I think we got a pretty good sense of the limited options, but also we got a great sense of the work that the superintendent has been doing for us,” board member Walsh said Monday. “After a period of real instability, at a time when we have turned over almost all our senior leadership of the district, it’s good to have someone who can keep the steady ship floating and moving forward.”

Also on Tuesday, Concord voters elected nine new members to the Concord School District Charter Commission, a body that is convening to review and recommend possible changes to the charter, the school district’s governing document.

Betty Hoadley (2,117 votes), Bill Ardinger (1,931) and Clint Cogswell (1,905) were elected by voters citywide to take the three at-large positions on the Charter Commission, beating out rivals Bob Washburn (1,093) and Roy Schweiker (585). Hoadley, Ardinger and Cogswell were all also on the last Charter Commission, which convened in 2011. In District A, Tom Croteau (418 votes) and Tracey Lesser (347) were elected to seats on the Commission, beating out rivals Chick Smith (192), Matt Fisk (183) and Patrice Myers (126). In the uncontested District B race, Bill Glahn (1,045 votes) and Nancy Kane (1,005) both won seats on the Commission, as did Cathryn Vaughn (602) and Eric Weiner (498) in the uncontested District C race.

The Charter Commission will begin work soon to review the school district charter and revise or establish a new charter or leave the old one as it is. It is expected to issue a preliminary report with its recommendations by April 2022 and a final report by June 2022 at the latest. The recommendations outlined in the report will be put to a vote by residents in the November 2022 regular election.

Eileen O

Eileen O'Grady is a Report for America corps member covering education for the Concord Monitor since spring 2020. O’Grady is the former managing editor of Scope magazine at Northeastern University in Boston, where she reported on social justice issues, community activism, local politics and the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a native Vermonter and worked as a reporter covering local politics for the Shelburne News and the Citizen. Her work has also appeared in The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, The Bay State Banner, and VTDigger. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in politics and French from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as news editor for the Mount Holyoke News from 2017-2018.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family