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Joyce Endee

Holden stepping down as Belmont High Principal

August 29, 2012
BELMONT — Just before the start of the 2012-13 school year, Shaker Regional School District officials announced that Belmont High School Principal Russ Holden had tendered his resignation to the district, saying he had accepted the position of assistant superintendent in a school district in Camden, Maine.

"He'll be missed, but that's how it goes. People move on, and new come in," said Preston Tuthill, Chairman of the Shaker Regional School Board.

Holden came to BHS five years ago, after being named the 2007 New Hampshire Principal of the Year at Prospect Mountain High School, which serves the communities of Alton and Barnstead.

The mid-summer announcement came at an unusual time of year for such a move, but Tuthill acknowledged it had been known for some time that Holden was looking to step up into a higher administrative position in education.

With no time to search for a permanent replacement, the district looked from within for someone to fill the role for the new school year, and Dan Clary of BHS, who was also honored as the 2010 Assistant Principal of the Year, was named interim principal. Helping him in the administrative duties will be Athletic Director Rick Acquilano, who will serve as the interim assistant principal in addition to his other responsibilities in the athletic department.

"Some people hire staff members (like a superintendent or principal) late in the year, but that just backs up and leaves another district to fill a position. Out of courtesy to the other school districts, we decided not to do that, and opted to fill the positions with interim staff members," said Tuthill.

The task to find a new principal for the high school falls on the heels of Shaker Regional's ongoing quest for a new district superintendent. Tom Haley stepped in to serve the remainder of the 2011-12 school year on a temporary basis after Mark Blount resigned suddenly last fall, but limited his commitment to July of 2012.

Earlier this summer, Maria Dreyer was named the next interim superintendent to follow Haley in the coming year. Dreyer comes to Shaker Regional School District from her previous position as an assistant superintendent at Mascenic Regional School District.

As the searches get underway again later this fall and winter, Tuthill said he is confident that the 2012-23 school year will run smoothly with the changes that have occurred.

"I think Dan will do a great job," said Tuthill. "He's a very committed guy."

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