New SAU 19 superintendent settling in to new post
GOFFSTOWN — A few hours after the official notice was released that Brian Balke was named the new SAU 19 superintendent, he had to address an emergency at Mountain View Middle School.
At first, he thought it was a joke when Principal Wendy Hastings called at 10 a.m. saying the school had no power because of a transformer failure. But, Balke and the school staff quickly went into action.
“We focused on learning and didn’t let the day go to waste,” Balke said. “The fire department, the police department were there to help, and PSNH responded quickly. It was a team effort to get through a difficult situation. It spoke to the resilience of the students and school staff.”
One of Balke’s first thoughts was how would the staff feed lunch to 600 students, but three local pizzerias came to the rescue, including Vikster’s Pizza and Subs, Pizza Market and Pizza Hut.
Balke, 41, of New Boston, wears many hats — he’s a husband and father; a school administrator; a teacher of graduate studies in leadership, psychology and special education at Rivier University and Southern New Hampshire University; and he is pursuing his doctorate in education. His dissertation will focus on the culture and climate of schools and the correlation between student achievement.
“I’ve tried very hard this year to find and maintain balance as a father, husband and school administrator and it proves to be elusive,” said Balke, who had served as interim superintendent since July. “The demands of the job are extensive, however, being able to serve the community is truly an honor. I’m very proud of our schools and think we offer an excellent education for our kids at a reasonable cost.”
Balke joked that he has been in school since he was 3 years old from preschool to earning his bachelor’s degree in earth science, and two master’s degrees in education and disabilities, and school leadership.
Although he says he works a 65-hour week at a $129,000 annual salary, it is a job he really loves. He said the parents of Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton can expect transparency, open communication and a commitment to providing an excellent education for their children.
“It’s all about service to the community and making decisions about what’s best for our kids and being an ambassador of the school system, and I look forward to many successful years,” he said.
Balke said helping to transition Dunbarton’s middle and high school students to Bow has been a lot of work, and he is fully committed to making the move smooth until all elements are fully in place.