Principal McCollum to leave Concord’s Rundlett Middle School

  • Rundlett Middle School Principal Jim McCollum watches as new sixth graders are led to their classrooms on the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016. Elizabeth Frantz / Monitor file

Monitor staff
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

After just two years with the Concord School District, Rundlett Middle School principal Jim McCollum will head south this summer.

“I am retiring from the state of New Hampshire. I am retiring from public education,” he said. “(But) I’m not retiring retiring. You’ve got to have insurance.”

McCollum is headed to Citrus Springs, Fla., he said, and is looking into different career options, including potentially working at the collegiate level. He’s relocating in large part to help take care of an ailing parent, he said, and he needs to find work that won’t require quite the same level of intensity.

McCollum came to Concord in 2016 from the Laconia School District, where he had spent 11 years. He was initially Rundlett’s interim leader, taking over after outgoing Principal Tom Sica took the helm at Concord High following Gene Connolly’s retirement. McCollum was offered the position on a permanent basis last year. He said his salary was about $126,000 this year.

McCollum said he’s proud the school has been able to make P.R.I.D.E. – Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Empathy – come to life in his short tenure.

“It’s kind of the code that we live by here. We’ve been able to make that very real. We’ve been able to celebrate academic excellence,” he said.

But some matters, like the school’s transition to competency-based teaching and grading, are ongoing projects. Leaving in the midst of that is “something that’s going to frustrate me,” he said.

All told, McCollum said he’d had a great experience in Concord.

“Honestly, Concord has been an amazingly positive community. The school board I have been especially impressed with,” he said. “I have never been around a larger group of parents who are this supportive. And, of course, great kids are a product of that.”

Concord Superintendent Terri Forsten and Assistant Superintendent Donna Palley, alongside a committee of Rundlett teachers and Concord school board member Jim Richards, are winnowing down a list of candidates to replace McCollum. Fifteen people have applied, according to Forsten.

“We interviewed two candidates the week before the break and will be interviewing two other candidates later this week,” she said.

The finalists will be asked to tour the school and meet with students, parents and faculty. A team from Concord will also travel to the candidates’ districts to see them at work.

The school board is expected to make a final decision later this month.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)