Replacing retiring Dover school superintendent meeting topic
By JOHN QUINN Union Leader Correspondent
DOVER — As Superintendent Jean Briggs-Badger looks forward to beachcombing, the School Board plans to discuss how to find someone to oversee the district.On June 10, the school board recognized several district employees — including Briggs-Badger — who plan to retire at the end of the school year.Briggs-Badger, who has served as superintendent since 2010, said she felt it was time to retire and spend time in her new home in Rye with her husband and family. She added she has worked for the past 34 years in education, including serving a number of positions in Dover since 1989.She said she feels good about her accomplishments, including ensuring the schools are safe, promoting a transparent budget process, being an advocate for student needs and creating a caring environment. She added she had built a strong working relationship with many officials, but has had her disagreements with others.“The partisan aspect is not one I expected,” Briggs-Badger said, adding “you need to keep your course.”
Closed session Monday
The school board is scheduled to discuss options in non-public session on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Superintendent’s Conference Room at the McConnell Center. As it involves personnel matters, the meeting is not open to residents, but a public session should follow.School Board Chairman Rocky D’Andrea said Briggs-Badger will be missed.
“While the decision was a surprise, I cannot say I was shocked. She has endured many political attacks the last couple of years by those that are not informed or misinformed. Many of the jabs should actually have been pointed at prior boards and superintendents as she spent much of her tenure cleaning up messes left by others,” D’Andrea said in an email.Interim appointment
D’Andrea said officials have contacted the N.H. School Board Association for guidance.
“We are most likely going to have to have an interim while we conduct our search. We are not going to rush into any decision as it is too important for our community,” D’Andrea said in the email.Tensions and disagreements between some city and district officials will continue to be a challenge, especially as some residents, including a city councilor and a school board member have already recommended another official to serve in the interim.“There is currently an email from a councilor floating out there that is not endorsed and has not been discussed by the board,” D’Andrea said in the e-mail.
In an email sent to fellow officials, City Councilor Mike Crago said he agreed with School Board member Doris Grady’s recommendation to name Jim Amara, who is retiring as director of Dover’s Regional Career Technical Center, as an interim superintendent.Mayor Dean Trefethen reminded city officials to let school district officials to follow existing procedures.
“I think it would be best to leave this discussion and outreach to the School Board. Involvement by a city council member, directly or indirectly, could be construed as a charter violation,” Trefethen said in an email.“The Dover administration is resilient and will do what it takes to carry on, but we all have a large task ahead of us,” D’Andrea said in the email.
The district will honor retirees and staff members with at least 20 years of experience who are moving to other opportunities today from 4 to 5:30 at Dover Middle School.