NEWPORT – Dr. Cynthia Gallagher, who has been working as Interim Superintendent for the past three weeks, was named full-time Superintendent of SAU #43 Tuesday evening. SAU #43 is comprised of the Newport and Croydon school districts.
After a non-public session of just over an hour, the SAU #43 Board announced the signing of the eighteen month contract with the Newport resident. Gallagher’s salary for the remainder of the 2014-15 fiscal year will be prorated at an annual salary of $95,000. Her salary beginning July 1 through June 30, 2016 will reflect a three percent increase at $97,850.
Several residents in attendance at the public meeting urged the Board to consider the longer term than a suggested six month interim position for Gallagher, who has made significant impacts in the position in working with SAU #43 Business Administrator, Bonnie Sandstrom on the Newport School Board budget and presenting information about the budget and annual meeting process and is involved in Croydon budgeting and administrative positions as well.
Gallagher, quizzed at the meeting before the announcement about her educational background, shared that she hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration , a Masters Degree in Education Administration, and a Doctorate in Education, as well as a law degree. A Resident of Newport, Gallagher is very active in community organizations and affairs, serving on the UNH Cooperative Extension Advisory Council and working on the Town of Newport Community Center committee, currently reviewing and advising on recreation needs in the town.
Gallagher has held several positions in the Newport School District, most recently as Director of Alternative Education Programs and Assistant Director of Career and Technical Education.
For more information, please contact SAU #43 at (603) 863-3540.
NEWPORT – Bryce Ashley, son of Ashlee Dance and Andy Ashley, a Grade 5 student at Towle School, was crowned top speller on Thursday, January 15. Ashley is eligible to compete in the New Hampshire SpellingBee next month following his win.
Ashley went head to head in a tough competition against twenty-eight fellow Grade 5 and 6 students, only to come down to the wire to defeat first runner-up and classmate, Kaiden Seymour when asked to spell“irrigation”. Brooklyn Mitchler, Grade 6, was second runner-up. All three of the top spellers are children of Newport faculty and staff members.
Termed an “outstanding success, like many other activities here at Towle,” the spelling bee was held at the gymnasium in Richards School and was judged by community member, Mark Pitkin, and school staff members Betty Igou and Deborah Beaupre. The event was organized, timed and facilitated by Towle School faculty.
Ashley will head to Concord to compete in Manchester Union Leader sponsored state preliminary round of the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee. The winner of the New Hampshire Bee on February 28, 2015 held at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord, NH, will be eligible to compete at the Scripp’s National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC in May.
Local spelling bees are open to all public schools, private schools and home-school groups in New Hampshire, and approximately 200 competitors are expected at the February state meet. For more information about the local match, please contact Towle School by visiting the school page atwww.sau43.org or emailing school Principal, Phil Callanan at email@example.com. Information about the NH Spelling Bee can be found at www.unionleader.com.
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photo (l-r): Laura Mosconas (grade 6 teacher), Bryce Ashley (spelling bee winner, Grade 5-Mr. Benoit), Kaiden Seymour (first runner-up, Grade 5-Mr. Benoit), Brooklyn Mitchler (second runner-up, Grade 6-Mrs. Mitchler), Georgia Scott (Towle School Guidance Counselor)
By Becky Nelson, SAU #43 Public Relations Specialist
Newport – Samuel Nelson graduated from Newport High School four years ago. Heading into his final semester of college, he had a lot to say to the Newport Senior Class set to graduate in June of this year when they gathered for a senior advisory session last week.
“Don’t mess up. I think I went fishing more than I went to class my final semester of high school, and it bit me,” he said. Nelson went on to tell his tale of “floating through high school. I did okay, but if it wasn’t for sports keeping me on track and getting good enough grades so I could play and my parents and teachers heckling me, I would have accomplished nothing.”
Nelson, an “average student” as he described himself, had no intention of going to college and “didn’t really reach my potential at any time in high school.” He said he resisted the advice of his guidance counselors and teachers and “I remember saying to one teacher who was trying to get me interested in going to school that I would never go to college. I would get a job and be happy with it.” At the urging of his parents and some teachers, Nelson did apply to four colleges “and I was accepted at all four. It was only then that I thought maybe I wasn’t as dumb as I thought I was,” he said.
“It’s a lot of work and a tough process. You have to think about what you want to study, where you want to go, how you’re going to pay for it and you think ‘have I really learned anything in high school’? You have to travel to schools and meet people, and it can be overwhelming when you’re in your senior year. It’s mind jumbling,” he said. “But once you get to the point where you’ve chosen where you want to go, you think you can relax. But that’s when senioritis bit me,” he said. “I flunked one class and messed up in another. I didn’t need the credits to graduate, so I thought I was fine because I had been accepted.”
The 2015 senior class, gathered in the Lou Thompson Room of the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center was quiet as Nelson described getting his room contract, his rooming assignment and contacting his roommates when “I got another piece of paper from the University. I don’t remember exactly what it said, but they had reviewed my transcript for my final high school semester and decided I wasn’t welcome to come to the University anymore.”
Nelson stayed at home and worked as his classmates went off to college. “It sucked,” he said. He then had to petition the University for re-admittance, meet with the Dean and several faculty of the College he was interested in and “talk my way back in and convince them I really wasn’t a screw up. It was really tough.”
“If I can get through one thing, it’ to not let up. Don’t screw up. And if you’re not thinking about college, look into it. Send out a couple of applications, because you might just get an acceptance back. And don’t mess up, because even if you’re not going to college, employers don’t like to see that you were lazy and gave up. Don’t stop trying. And listen to your guidance counselors, teachers and parents,” said Nelson. “You don’t want to be in panic mode in June.”
Asked by Senior Class Advisor, Kayleigh Durkin what students can do to resist the urge to fool around and stop trying with a case of senioritis, Nelson said “go fishing after school. Set aside an hour after school to do your homework. Be where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there. You don’t want to work your butt off for twelve years and not graduate or have a college revoke your admittance. Don’t mess up.”
Seniors have just finished a week of finals for the first semester. Second semester classes begin on Monday, January 26. For more information about Newport High School, please visit the school web page at www.sau43.org or call the guidance office at 863-2414.
By Becky Nelson, SAU #43 Public Relations Specialist
The turkey and stuffing are long gone, but the memories should last a long, long time for Newport cheerleader, Bailey Hanson, having recently performed in a squad of hundreds of cheerleaders from across the nation in the prestigious Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Winning at the March 2014 competition of National Cheerleading Association “regionals” at Husson University in Bangor, Maine last summer, Hanson tumbled her way to the honor of competition at the national level, going on to compete and become an All-American Cheerleading team member. Competitions were held all over the nation, and “All American” cheerleaders were then invited to travel and perform at several prestigious events, both national and international.
About 800 high school athletes attended the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade according to Hanson and her then coach, Cassandra Abare Hoyt. The cheerleaders were housed in a New York hotel and took over a conference center where they learned routines between enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City. Parade day was a “fantastic experience” according to Hanson, and left impressions she will not soon forget.
Taking gymnastic lessons since she was two years old, it was a natural transition for the now high school senior to try out for the cheerleading squad when she was an eighth grader. She began cheering in sixth grade in a middle school squad and soon made her mark. She was good, and Abare-Hoyt, the high school varsity coach, took note. She wanted Hanson on the varsity squad, so Hanson began her six year run on the Newport Cheerleading Team after petitioning “up” as a middle-schooler.
As a sophomore, Hanson participated in a hometown Cheer Camp organized by Coach Abair Hoyt. The camp grew, skills grew, and the team headed to Bangor the next year, where Hanson competed well and earned the opportunity to travel to London, England for a New Year’s Day performance as her first year as an All-American Cheerleader. With those memories already in her mental files, Hanson headed off to camp her junior year and earned a spot as First Runner-Up in the state competition.
Last year, she again earned her crown as an All American and headed off to the Macy’s Day parade, an honor reserved for seniors on the All American team. Her coach stepped away from the team this year after coaching Bailey and her “very talented, hardworking teammates”, needing time to work toward her Master’s degree in the mental health field and taking time to have a child. “I may not be able to stay away for long,” said Abare Hoyt, adding that she has continued to support her former student athletes, just not in a coaching role.
Hanson said her parents, Tami McNamara and Andy Hanson, are supportive of her cheerleading, even following a recent surgery on her wrists. “I just wear my ‘tiger paw’ braces when I do tumbling routines,” she said, nonplused by the post-surgery restrictions. “I just have to be really careful,” she said.
Greatly influenced by her coach and mentor, Hanson hopes to attend college following graduation this year and work toward becoming a mental health counselor or pursue a career in communications. She said she hopes to continue cheering during her college career.
By Becky Nelson, SAU #43 Public Relations Specialist
“Just for fun and to help the students relax a little bit during stressful times around the holidays,” said Newport High School mentor and teacher, James Faulkner in reference to a recent in-school competition of the age-old game of “Rock-Paper-Scissors.” Participants in the tourney had a lot at stake, as the winner heads off to a R-P-S tournament at Derryfield School in Manchester on Sunday, January 25 at the Derryfield School Gymnasium. Dozens, if not hundreds of participants and observers are expected.
It’s kind of fun for a few minutes, even as an adult, to challenge a buddy to a simplistic game and cover their “rock” (fist) with your paper (flattened hand) to win or have your scissors (second and third fingers extended from your fist) cut their “paper” to win a round. But when their “rock” crushes your “scissors”, the tides turn and your challenge is lost. But at the high school recently, this challenge got serious when Newport High School champion, Tyler Maheu (Grade 11), earned the right to head to the statewide tourney.
“This is a tournament we hold simply to send someone to the state ‘Rock-Paper-Scissors’ tournament, and have some fun,” said Faulkner. “Last year I received something in the mail from the tournament organizers from Derryfield School. Our student council thought it would be a quick, fun and engaging project, and the winner (of the state championship) has a chance to win $500, so we ran our own high school tournament to find someone to send,” he said.
And the annual Newport challenge was established. “What we hope students get out of this is a fun distraction from school and something that anybody can participate in,” said Faulkner.
If you really pressed the issue, it can be said that strategy may play a role in the winner taking the game. Students may learn something about watching an opponent’s face for clues, honing their sensory and observation skills and fine tuning fine motor skills to “throw” or “shoot” their choice just a millisecond later than the opponent as the brain synapses fire to cover or break or cut as appropriate. You could also lobby that it’s a wonderful way to meet other students from around the state at the tournament in order to broaden their experiences and sharpen their communication skills. Both statements would be right, but it’s mostly just about the fun and the shot at the money prize.
According to Derryfield School’s website, the tournament, now in its second year, was the brainchild of a student set to graduate two years hence, and is completely run with student volunteers who garner donations, man concession booths, invite schools to participate, set up the tournament, provide referees and send invitations to schools across the state. Cheer squads for competitors are welcome. According to event mentor, Ben Dougherty, Head of the Upper School of Derryfield, “every once in a while it is important not to take yourself too seriously and just have fun. Rock, paper, scissors…shoot!”
Good luck at the finals, Tyler. May the best student win.
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By Becky Nelson, SAU#43 Public Relations Specialist
Most ambassadors travel to foreign lands. In Newport, the Ag Ambassador set up base right in the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical and has done her travelling in the States.
Applying for a spot in the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy, a professional development institute for teachers of agricultural science, Newport’s Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center Agriscience teacher, Deb Stevens, thought she didn’t have a chance of being selected from more than 250 applicants. She said the application process was “rigorous” and included a written statement of personal teaching philosophy and development of three complete lesson plans with associated classroom activities.
The reward at the end of the process was acceptance into the program held at the DuPont Chesapeake Farms facility in Chestertown, Maryland. The first representative to the academy to represent New Hampshire, Stevens, along with twenty-four other trainees “were wined and dined and challenged like I’ve never been challenged before. I’ve never done anything that stretched me like this. These exercises made me think in ways I’ve never thought before,” she said.
The academy is split into two one week sessions, each with twenty-five attendees. Stevens’ group enjoyed tours of the DuPont agricultural research center, training sessions and ten daily labs in animal science, agricultural mechanics, plant science and myriad other agricultural science topics during the weeklong academy. “I was uncomfortable at first. There were agriscience teachers from big agricultural states, and I felt really out of place,” she said. But one of the precepts of the study was “that it’s not about the right answer. The greatest discoveries have come through trial and error, otherwise known as inquiry. You can have all the content knowledge in the world, but if you can’t think and problem solve, it does you no good at all.”
Meeting with scientists and company executives, Stevens and her fellow Ag Ambassadors were afforded the opportunity to network with leading researchers and take a long, hard look at teaching and management strategies. Stevens described some of the labs that were designed to “teach us to think, to problem solve, to collaborate.” Given vague instructions and limited materials, the “ambassadors” were paired with fellow teachers and tasked to do things like “create a voltaic pile” with nickel, pennies and foil. “The first thing you have to do is try to understand. I didn’t even know what a ‘voltaic pile’ was, but we thought that voltaic…volt…must mean something like a charge…a battery. You learn to pull from prior knowledge, use deductive reasoning, make connections and problem solve.”
The intensive training sessions helped Stevens develop new thoughts on student engagement and teaching strategies. Designed to “train the trainer”, the new batch of Ag Ambassadors has been charged with helping fellow teachers employ new teaching strategies and build programming. Stevens and fellow teachers prepared lessons that were presented at two national conventions: the FFA National Convention in Louisville, KY and the National Association of Agriculture Educators’ National Convention in Nashville, TN. “I never saw myself teaching on a national stage,” said Stevens. “This academy allowed me to stretch beyond my comfort zone and develop skills to use in and out of the classroom. It was a life changing experience.”
Stevens, saying the single week helped her “grow as a teacher and a professional” will also present professional development seminars for fellow agriscience teachers at the New Hampshire FFA Winter Leadership Camp in Alton, NH. She will help fellow educators focus on literacy, communication, core math and “inquiry based labs. She also plans to bring her new training close to home, working with fellow educators at Newport High School and the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center.
Stevens has been employed by the Newport School District for almost fifteen years, starting as Adult Education Program Coordinator and seeking teacher certification under a Department of Education Alternative Education program. Before this, she owned a landscape and gardening business, a florist and gift shop,and was a 4-H leader, Brownie leader and Cub Scout leader all while homeschooling her two children. “I’ve always been a teacher,” she said.
For more information about Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center programming, please contact the center at: (603) 863-7104 or e-mail Interim Director, John Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org or Interim Assistant Director, Cindy Gallagher at email@example.com.
Newport - Richards School third graders took to the stage Thursday, December 18 with their “Winter Concert” directed by music teacher, Belinda Stout. The repertoire included the following songs: Do You Want to Build a Snowman? (complete with a dancing snowman), Love Is an Open Door, Let It Go, and In Summer all by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez arranged by Tom Anderson. Several students performed solos and played recorders and percussion instruments.
The group also sang: Hanukkah Hannukah arranged by Paul Jennings, Jingle Bells by James Pierpont, Deck the Halls arranged by Phoebe Diller, Chrismas Bells are Ringing, Ringing by Mike Wilson, Canon in C by Johann Pachelbel, It’s Crhismas Time by Linda Forrest, Rock the Holly by Teresa Jennings, Hip Hop Elves by Teresa Jennings and New Year’s Groove by Anne and David Ellsworth.
Newport – Emily Almquist has been chosen by Newport High School as Student of the Month for December. Emily is the daughter of David and Cynthia Almquist. Described as an ‘exemplary student” Emily has chosen a demanding course of studies and consistently achieves high grades. Focused on her career goals, she is passionate about her future, planning to major in Biology in college and become a veterinarian.
Almquist is currently a member of the Newport High School Ski Team on the Alpine Squad. She is also an actress, having acted in the Junior Intern Company at the New London Barn Playhouse for the past five summers with roles in “Willy Wonka,” “Into the Woods” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
During the summer of 2014, Emily attended St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program and was one of only 5% of the attendees who received a superior rank in both her Studio Arts class and Nonfiction Writing class.
Almquist is a member of the Newport High School Student Council and has been involved in the planning and organization of Homecoming, Winter Carnival, Field Day, Dodge Ball and Spirit Week.
“We are so proud to have Emily as a member of our student body,” said her guidance counselor. “She is an impressive young woman who has made the most of her time at Newport High School,” he said.