New leadership in district, still dozens of open positions

NASHUA – Several new administrators will join students upon their return to the classroom later this month, but dozens of positions with the Nashua School District remain unfilled.

Richard Boardman, former director at Gate City Charter School for the Arts, took the helm of Mount Pleasant Elementary School from former principal Patricia Snow, while Chas Miller has replaced Tim McGillicuddy at Ledge Street Elementary School. McGillicuddy was hired in October to fill in as interim principal after former principal Janet Valeri left in 2017. Valeri and assistant principal Tiffany Hyatt were unexpectedly removed from their positions in an incident that has yet to be explained by the district.

Jay Harding, principal of New Searles Elementary School also left his position. There is currently a candidate expected to fill the role, said Human Resources Director Dana O’Gara, but that will not be confirmed until a future Board of Education Meeting.

There is also a vacancy listed for Pennichuck Middle School, which was previously run by Principal Lynne Joseph. The district has not yet found a replacement.

Nathan Burns, now principal of Nashua High School North, served as interim principal for the 2017-18 school year.

Other new department heads include Michael McQuilkin, former head social studies teacher, who will now lead the Career and Technical Education program at Nashua High School South. He will work closely with the Nashua North director Amanda Bastoni, who joined last year.

Additionally, Marcia Bagley will take over the Special Education director post from long time Director Christine Breen, who is retiring.

The district is still looking for a candidate for director of Food Services, formerly occupied by Amy Cassidy.

Superintendent Jahmal Mosley has said several times that after multiple superintendent changes, and now the same with principals, what the district really needs to thrive is stability. Mosley, himself, only marked a year in the district last month.

Not only are there administrative changes, as of Friday evening, the district website listed 83 open teaching positions, with 48 in the elementary schools, 19 in the high schools and 16 in the middle schools.

However, according to O’Gara, 43 of those positions are just teachers who already work in the district transferring to another role in the schools, such as a first-grade teacher moving to teach third grade.

Of the remaining 40, she said, many vacancies are expected to be filled after the next meeting, bringing the open positions down to only about 25, which she said is relatively standard.

All personnel recommendations need to be approved by the BOE; any that miss the last round before the start of school will have to wait until the next meeting slated for Sept. 10.

While O’Gara expects most of the positions will be filled by the start of school Aug. 28, a substitute will be put in any classroom that does not have a teacher. Wherever possible, the intended candidate will be put in as the substitute until they can be approved.

“We try to do that because it’s best of the children to have that continuity,” she said, adding, “There will be teachers in the classroom.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.