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Three finalists met with residents on Jan. 12. At the podium: Christine “Chris” Martin. Seated, left to right: Dr. Robert Lister, a search consultant for the NH School Board Association, and finalists Christopher Pratt and William Van Bennekum. (Melissa Proulx)

SAU 15 won’t choose from list of superintendent candidates

HOOKSETT — School district officials said that after narrowing the latest round of candidates for superintendent down to three, they are pursuing other options instead.

SAU 15 School Board members will meet soon to discuss whether to repost the position or to take another course of action.

“We’ve had zero discussions so far,” said Kim Royer, chair for the SAU 15 School Board and member of the Candia School Board.

On Jan. 12, about 100 residents from the district met with the three finalists.

The three candidates were:

• William Van Bennekum, the principal at Holderness Central School.

• Christopher Pratt, the superintendent of Windham Southwest Supervisory Union in Vermont.

• Christine “Chris” Martin, principal at Beech Street Community Elementary School in Manchester.

Royer said the school district is looking for a qualified candidate with enough prior experience to serve as superintendent.

“That’s one of the big challenges,” she said.

Royer also said there’s not a large pool of superintendents looking for a job.

The chosen candidate would be responsible for about 2,300 students in Auburn, Candia and Hooksett. The towns, which have five schools in all, have students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each town sends the students to neighboring communities for high school.

Current Superintendent Dr. Charles “Phil” Littlefield has served as head of the district for more than half a decade and is expected to step down this year.

The deadline was to have someone in place by July 2018. Royer said that goal is still attainable, but the deadline could change.

Royer also said residents will be able to weigh in no matter what course they decide.

“It’s very important for us to hear from the community,” she said.

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