Visitors First Gentleman Tom Hassan, third from left, back row, and District 1 Senator Jeff Woodburn posed on Jan. 25 with three North Country Charter School faculty members and 7 of 9 students: Principal Lisa Lavoie, left, Kyler Kenison, back row, Trista Leighton, front row, teacher Greg Williams, Kelsea Rheault, Center Director Scott Kleinschrodt, and students Corey Hood, back row, Skylar Gray, front row, Chris MacDonald and Devin Manchester. (Photo by Edith Tucker)
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February 03, 2016LANCASTER — Tom Hassan, the state's "First Gentleman" since he is married to Governor Maggie Hassan, visited the Lancaster classroom of the North Country Charter Academy on Monday morning with state Senator Jeff Woodburn of Dalton as part of a series of public school stops in Plymouth, Lincoln and Berlin. The former Principal of Phillips Exeter Academy, Hassan easily connected with students as well as with teachers Scott Kleinschrodt and Greg Williams and North Country Charter Academy principal Lisa Lavoie.
Hassan circled the room to talk with all of the students sitting at their computer stations. Chris MacDonald of Groveton talked about producing a short animated film on World War I. Typically, he said, he spends about two of his three classroom hours working on subjects on the computer and the remaining time off-line. Students also discussed some of their career goals, which included being nurses and teachers.
So far this school year — 2016-2017 — the Academy, located at two sites — Lancaster and Littleton — has enrolled between 46 to 52 students, Lavoie explained. It is licensed for up to 65 students. Six high school dropouts have made the commitment to earn a diploma, some 18 years old or older that have been out of school for two to three years. Two home-schoolers also decided they would benefit from access to the Academy's computerized curriculum. Three students came in because the Vermont's Concord High School closed. Of this trio, two have already completed the credits they needed for graduation. Charter Academy students very much like that they can work at their own pace, sometimes fast, and other times more slowly.
This year WMRSD has contracted for nine slots for students. These students, as well as those from other districts, come for a half-day of class work at the Academy. Some also take Career and Technical Education classes at WMRHS, Littleton, or Berlin High School or do work-study stints.
Six students in the Lancaster site's afternoon class come from Berlin.
Hassan has joined the Governor's commission on STEM education. In June he will take up his new duties in June as president of School Year Abroad (SYA), a leading high school study program for juniors and seniors headquartered in North Andover, Mass. The accredited school has four campuses: Beijing, China; Rennes, France; Viterbo, Italy and Zaragoza, Spain. Before serving in several positions at Exeter, Hassan worked at Brown and Harvard Universities plus the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. A graduate of Brown, Hassan earned his master's and Ed.D. degrees at Harvard.
He pointed out proudly that his and his wife's daughter, Meg, a 2015 graduate of Brown, has started her working career in the Teach For America program, a national teacher corps who sign up to teach in "under-resourced" urban and rural public schools.