Groveton superintendent sees a special school districtBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
February 19. 2014 6:50PM
NORTHUMBERLAND — Although he didn’t bring home the big prize from the recent National Conference on Education, Carl Ladd is still basking in the glow of what got him there: being named the New Hampshire Superintendent of the Year for 2013-14.
Even so, he said getting picked in New Hampshire was made possible less by his own efforts than those of the dedicated teachers and administrators of SAU 58.
Based in Groveton village, School Administrative Unit 58 is comprised of the Northumberland, Stark and Stratford school districts. The district has about 500 students and, in the opinion of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, in coordination with the American Association of School Administrators, it also has the best superintendent in the Granite State.
In December, the NHSAA and AASA named Ladd superintendent of the year, which allowed him to travel to the Feb. 13-15 Nashville conference during which Ladd vied with 49 other winners from the country to be named America’s best superintendent.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ladd, sounding like many an Academy Award hopeful, said it was “a thrill and an honor just to be nominated. I’m just very honored to be named New Hampshire superintendent of the year. That’s a big enough thank you.”
Asked where he was in the running for the national title, Ladd laughed.
“I wasn’t even close. If they did it by the size of the district, I would have been last. It was unbelievable out there, with superintendents with districts of hundreds of thousands of kids. I felt like the country mouse in the city.”
Despite feeling a bit out of place, Ladd said the Nashville conference was a great experience.
“My wife Michele and I traveled down with 15 other superintendents from New Hampshire and there was quite a ceremony last Thursday where all 50 state superintendents of the year received a plaque and a medal, it was actually a pretty-good sized medal that we wore during the ceremony. We were announced on stage and they announced the national superintendent of the year and we were all recognized. It was very nice.”
Ladd said he is deeply honored being named NH Superintendent of the Year.
“I’m very humbled because I certainly feel there are other superintendents in the state who are far more deserving than I am and it (receiving the state honor) has very little to do with me and, in my opinion, it has to do with the outstanding teachers and administrators” in SAU 58, “they make me look good.”
Even though “times are tough” within the SAU 58 communities, Ladd said the three towns have “rolled up their sleeves and did what they needed to do” to help students excel. The district, he added, “is a very special place to work and live.”