MSD welcomes two new principals and assistant principal

posted Jul 23, 2014, 6:50 AM by Communications Coordinator   [ updated Jul 23, 2014, 6:51 AM ]

Superintendent of Schools Debra Livingston conditionally named the next principals of Hallsville Elementary School and Southside Middle School, pending Board of School Committee approval at next month’s scheduled meeting. Christi Michaud, currently a principal in Windham, will assume the top administrative position at Hallsville; Jennifer Gillis comes to Southside from her role as an assistant principal in Goffstown.

Michaud's is a familiar name in the Manchester School District. She was a teacher at Green Acres Elementary School for more than ten years before becoming assistant principal at Golden Brook School in Windham in 2009. She has been that school’s principal since 2012.

“I am excited to return to Manchester for the chance to lead the students and staff of Hallsville in their continued efforts toward high achievement,” said Michaud. “There is so much learning to celebrate, and the commitment to success among everyone in the Hallsville community is undeniable.”

Gillis served as assistant principal at Mountain View Middle School in Goffstown since 2008. She has more than a decade of experience teaching, mentoring, coaching and advocating for students. 

“There are many opportunities in the middle school years to prepare students for the learning and expectations ahead of them,” said Gillis. “I’m looking forward to working with students, family and staff at Southside to reach our common academic and developmental goals.”

Traditionally, new district staff members are hired only after Manchester’s Board of School Committee votes to approve the superintendent’s recommendations. The timing made it necessary for Dr. Livingston to offer the positions to Michaud and Gillis ahead of the August 11 school board meeting so that the new principals can use the rest of the summer to prepare for the school year. 

Webster Elementary School also has a new administrator. Assistant principal Kristen Withee comes to Manchester from teaching fourth grade at Windham Center School in Windham. She has 15 years of elementary experience as a teacher, mentor and instructional leader and will be a valuable addition to the team at Webster led by its principal, Christine Martin.

Call for entries: Constitution Day essay contest

posted Jul 21, 2014, 8:19 AM by Communications Coordinator

“Constitution Day” is observed in schools each year on September 17 with educational programs about the history and signing of the U.S. Constitution. To help celebrate Constitution Day, eight daily newspapers and the New Hampshire Supreme Court sponsor an annual essay contest for students in grades 5-12 on a topic related to our constitutional rights as citizens. Winning essays are published in the participating newspapers, and winners are invited to a special reception at the state Supreme Court and to the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications First Amendment Awards.

The 2014 essay question and other contest details are available on the New Hampshire Department of Education web site.

MST Report Cards: A Message from the Superintendent

posted Jul 16, 2014, 1:47 PM by Web Master   [ updated Jul 16, 2014, 1:49 PM ]

To Our MST High School Families:

First of all, we want to thank you for your flexibility with our different approach to educating your child over the last two years. We continue to work hard at bridging the gap between the traditional pathways to achieving expectations and the new, innovative manner by which your children are learning at MST. Part of the unintended complexity of redesigning a high school experience such as the one offered at MST High School is the paradigm shift in administrative tasks such as scheduling, grade reporting, and tracking of mastering competencies. Students and their families have been very patient and understanding as we have wrestled with issues such as generating a personalized report card, progress report and transcript for each student, items that have been quite delayed. We believe we are close to issuing competency-based report cards for each of our students, and we are certain our students and parents will be very pleased with the amount of personalized information the grade report will contain.

Our apologies for the delay, but I assure you that we continue to work with our technology personnel and software vendor to speed up the process and it is our hope to have grade reports for MST High School students shortly. If you have any questions or would like to further discuss the issue, please feel free to contact MSTHS Principal Karen White at 603-624-6490.

Thank you.


Debra Livingston
Superintendent of Schools
Manchester School District

Public hearing on Manchester Academic Standards: July 17

posted Jul 11, 2014, 6:57 PM by Communications Coordinator

Members of the community are invited to a second public hearing to share their concerns and comments about the newly assembled Manchester Academic Standards. The Board of School Committee’s Curriculum and Instruction Committee will be hosting the hearing at Manchester High School West on Thursday, July 17 starting at 6:00 pm.

A committee comprised of teachers, administrators, learning standards experts, curriculum specialists, and higher education professors worked over the previous school year to assemble the standards document as an alternative to implementing the Common Core State Standards. The Manchester Academic Standards committee presented its framework for pre-k through twelfth grade curriculum at the June 9 Board of School Committee, and the presentation is available online.

Community invited to meet finalists for principal positions

posted Jul 11, 2014, 10:39 AM by Communications Coordinator

Parents, teachers and interested members of the public will have a chance to meet and hear from the final candidates being considered for the top posts at Hallsville Elementary School and Southside Middle School. As it did before selecting two other recently hired principals, Manchester School District will host community forums at each school to introduce the finalists and offer an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

“This is a wonderful way to further involve our families and faculty in the process of choosing the best leaders for our schools,” said school superintendent Dr. Debra Livingston. “It’s also a valuable part of the interview process for the candidates to get to know our  school communities better and hear what is on their minds.”

The first community forum will take place on Tuesday, July 15 at 6:00 pm at Hallsville School, 275 Jewett Street. The forum at Southside, 140 S. Jewett Street, is scheduled for Monday, July 21 at 6:00 pm. 

Two city schools reach improvement goals

posted Jul 10, 2014, 11:31 AM by Communications Coordinator

Manchester has two fewer Schools in Need of Improvement. The New Hampshire Department of Education has announced that Gossler Park Elementary School and Southside Middle School have successfully met criteria to exit that federal status. Both schools have worked for several years on efforts to turn around their designation as low performing schools in the district based on assessment scores.

Funds from the state and U.S. departments of education in the form of School Improvement Grants (SIG) provided resources and professional development opportunities for faculty and staff to implement strategies in various areas of improvement.  

“The hard work, determination and dedication from every member of the Gossler Park and Southside communities have made those schools exemplary models for other schools in Manchester working to reach the same goals,” said Mayor Ted Gatsas. 

Many activities and guidelines for SIG Schools require hours of professional development, meetings, and data collection and analysis. Gossler Park and Southside set the bar for high expectations and continued their pursuit of excellence in academics throughout a transformation process. The strategies are now embedded in the way those schools help children learn.   

“The process taught us a lot about the ways we can be more effective educators,” said Lori Upham, principal of Gossler Park. “I’ve been able spend more time in the classroom being an instructional leader and giving timely feedback on teaching practices.”

District-wide sharing of ideas and experiences also was a key component of success, establishing the foundation for student excellence that will allow Gossler Park and Southside to reach exemplary status. 

“School improvement grants are about the ability to lead and build capacity to continue the work after the grant expires,” said Pat Snow, executive director of Manchester’s Innovation Zone, which oversees the progress of SIG schools. “I am confident that we can and will continue the excellent work and practices that lead to student achievement.”

Changes to school leadership teams announced

posted Jul 10, 2014, 11:26 AM by Communications Coordinator   [ updated Jul 10, 2014, 11:26 AM ]

Some schools in Manchester have new principals and/or assistant principals on staff  after voluntary shifts for the upcoming school year. Among the changes, Rachelle Otero is moving from her post as principal of Hallsville Elementary School to become full-time assistant principal at Smyth Road. McLaughlin Middle School assistant principal Tim Otis will assume the same role at Manchester High School West. He replaces Debora Roukey, who is joining the team of assistant principals at Central.

“We’re fortunate to have strong administrators at all of our schools, which makes it possible for the executive team and school board members to honor requests by those looking for new opportunities,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Debra Livingston. “We respect their leadership and eagerness to bring new ideas to the schools where they’ll be serving.”

Adjustments of school-level administrations mean a new principal will be hired for Hallsville. McLaughlin, which staffs two assistant principals, now has one position open to replace Otis. Southside Middle School will start the school year with a new principal not yet hired, after Kim Organek was named principal of Wilson Elementary School last month to succeed Linda Durand, who retired.     

Other changes include naming Steve Soucy as full-time assistant principal at Bakersville Elementary School. He had been part-time there and at Smyth Road. Ellen Allaire, previously part-time principal at Webster Elementary, is now part-time at Hallsville. A new assistant principal at Webster has not yet been named. 

Superintendent names Highland-Goffe's Falls principal

posted Jun 30, 2014, 11:53 AM by Communications Coordinator

The Board of School Committee has approved Susan Matthews as the next principal of Highland-Goffe’s Falls Elementary School. Matthews comes to the Manchester School District from her position as assistant principal at Hooksett Memorial School and will begin her new post on July 1. 

As an instructional leader, Matthews has been dedicated to helping students learn and succeed, and to supporting teachers’ professional growth.  She has extensive experience as a classroom teacher and reading specialist, having worked in those capacities in Hudson and Lowell, MA, for nearly 25 years before becoming the language arts coordinator at Mastricola Elementary School in Merrimack. There, she worked to align curriculum, instruction, and assessment in reading and writing. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the faculty at Highland-Goffe’s Falls and helping to shape the way students learn in these critical early years,” said Matthews. “It’s wonderful to see that the school has a strong community of parents and families who are engaged and just as committed to their children’s success as I am.”

As an administrator in Hooksett since 2011, Matthews has cultivated a mutual partnership of respect and collaboration between parents and staff to promote the social, emotional, and academic welfare of students. 

“We are excited to welcome Susan to Manchester, and we are confident that she will continue the success of Mr. Adams’ leadership,” said Dr. Debra Livingston, superintendent.

Highland principal Jim Adams retired this month at the end of the school year after more than 30 years as an educational leader in Manchester.

Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Salem State University in Salem, MA, a Master of Education Degree from Rivier University in Nashua, NH, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership from Plymouth State University.  

School day times confirmed

posted Jun 26, 2014, 10:45 AM by Communications Coordinator   [ updated Jul 24, 2014, 7:18 AM ]

The school district has announced the start and end times for the school day starting in September. 

Start 9 a/11:30a
End 12:30 p/3 p
Start 8:20 a.m.
End 2:35 p.m.
Middle Schools:
Start 7:35 a.m.
End 2:00 p.m.
High Schools:
Start 7:45 a.m.
End 2:42 p.m.

STEAM Ahead NH in the news: Support is adding up!

posted Jun 26, 2014, 8:44 AM by Communications Coordinator

The inaugural STEAM Ahead NH class is set to enter Manchester High School West this fall. Read about the latest developments, including very generous grants from our friends at the Bean Foundation.

Learn more about the innovative new program for Manchester students at

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