Former Concord superintendent Terri Forsten surrenders education credentials

  • Forsten

Monitor staff
Published: 1/27/2021 5:58:13 PM

Terri Forsten, the former superintendent of the Concord School District, voluntarily surrendered her educator credentials more than a year after an independent investigation concluded she made several missteps that jeopardized student safety amid allegations of sexual assault by former teacher Howie Leung.

The state has revoked Forsten’s superintendent and principal endorsements permanently, while her special education teacher and elementary education endorsements are temporarily suspended through Nov. 5, 2024.

Forsten is prevented from holding any job or doing volunteer work with a public school district, nonpublic school or charter school. After the suspension period of her special education and elementary education credentials has ended, Forsten has also agreed to limit her employment to non-supervisory roles, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday.

“The department considered the significance of this case, along with mitigating factors in reaching this agreement,” said Frank Edelblut, commissioner of Education. “Our hearts are broken for the alleged victims of Howie Leung, and we are reminded of the importance of being vigilant to protect all New Hampshire children.”

Forsten’s name now appears on a list along with over 150 former educators whose credentials have been revoked or suspended. Leung himself is also on the list, after being stripped of his experienced educator credential, elementary education and general special education endorsements. Leung is now facing rape charges in Massachusetts.

The Department of Education announced in June that former Concord High School principal Tom Sica was also being stripped of his teaching credentials as part of a confidential agreement. Sica’s name did not initially appear on the list sent out Wednesday, but was included Thursday.

A 2019 report by an independent investigator Djuna Perkins, released to the public in June 2020, showed Forsten failed to thoroughly investigate sexual misconduct complaints against Leung and implement discipline of any kind to ensure student safety.

The report showed Forsten chose not to report to the state’s Division for Children, Youth and Families or Concord police in December 2018 after learning that several female students reported seeing Leung kiss a student in his car. Leung was informed of the allegations, placed on a performance improvement plan and removed as club advisor, but was allowed to continue teaching, even after the investigation concluded the kiss and several other boundary violations with students had occurred.

Forsten ultimately forwarded the results of the district’s investigation to the state’s Department of Education in late January 2019, and it was state officials who contacted Concord police.

The report concluded that Forsten made several missteps that jeopardized student safety and failed to conduct a thorough investigation, including not consulting the district’s Title IX coordinator and not ensuring the investigation was conducted by individuals with the training and expertise to handle reports of sexual assault.

Forsten was placed on administrative leave from the Concord School District in September 2019 and resigned in November.

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.

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