New MVMS principal gets to work in wake of a controversial predecessor
GOFFSTOWN – It shouldn’t take long for Mountain View Middle School students to get acquainted with new principal Wendy Hastings.
"I'm very visible," Hastings said. "I pride myself on knowing my staff and knowing my students."
Hastings plans to spend time in the classroom, greeting students in the hallway and seeing them off at the bus area at the end of the day as she goes about her duties. To her, the job is about enhancing education and showcasing the talents of her students and staff.
"I look forward to working with the community and having parents in to see the great stuff the staff does on a daily basis and just to celebrate the kids," Hastings said.
Hastings is replacing former principal Jim Hunt, who resigned amid allegations that he presided over a hostile and dysfunctional work environment at the middle school.
"I see this as a new beginning and I think the faculty and parents do as well," Hastings said.
The community is ready for new leadership, she said. She intends to implement an open-door policy for students and staff, many of whom she's already met during forums and luncheons.
"I want to know what’s going on," she said. "The climate is very important."
She’s also faced with a recently completed study questioning the quality of programs and services at the school, as well as its culture. While still in the data-gathering stage, Hastings said she will take the study into consideration as she moves forward to make sure academic needs are addressed.
"I want to make sure I have the full picture before I make any decisions," she said.
Hastings’ official first day was July 1, but she chose to visit Maple Avenue Elementary, Bartlett Elementary, New Boston Central and Dunbarton Elementary schools during the last week in session to meet with administrators and introduce herself to future Mountain View Middle School students. She wanted the children to be familiar with her before their first day of school, Hastings said.
The students’ excitement and energy level boosted her own.
"I'm just really excited for the school year to start," she said. "I can't wait to have kids in the building."
The principal position was a perfect fit for Hastings, a Goffstown native who once attended Maple Avenue Elementary School.
"This was kind of like coming home for me," she said.
Hastings said she’s wanted to be an educator for as long as she can remember. She began her career teaching physical education to pre-K through eighth-grade students at Villa Augustina School. After two years she accepted a position in the Londonderry School District, where she spent 13 years as a teacher and administrator. Most recently, she served as assistant principal at Londonderry Middle School.
Hastings was chosen by a 17-member search committee made up of representatives from Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton. Search committee members were made up of school board members from the respective towns, members of the public and administrators who currently work for the SAU. She will be paid a salary of $94,000.
For the time being, she’s commuting from Tilton but will pay tuition to have her two children attend the Villa Augustina School. Jayden will be a first-grader and Tristen is entering pre-kindergarten.
Acting Superintendent Brian Balke said he’s excited to have Hastings on the job.
“She brings a rich experience and a child-centered approach to leadership,” Balke said. “We feel strongly she’ll be highly successful at Mountain View Middle School.”