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School district says goodbye to two top administrators in '09

December 30, 2009
The Gilford School District looked for ways to make budget cuts in an unpredictable economy, and despite parent concerns, did away with the assistant principal position at Gilford Elementary School. The board also cut a full-time family and consumer sciences position and guidance counselor hours.

Longtime Gilford Elementary School Principal Sandra McGonagle and Gilford Middle School Principal Jim Kemmerer retired at the end of the 2008/2009 school year. Out of 20 candidates, Dr. Jack Billings took over as principal for GES, while Marcia Ross was hired as principal of GMS.

The School Administrative Office decided to move from the town hall to the old vacant library in October of 2010. The town first had to wait on a court decision pertaining to the prior heirs of the vacant library, the Hardings, whose family once donated the land to library use. When the Hardings did not appeal the court decision to give the property to the town, the School Board agreed to move to the old library, which will cost about $13,000 a year in electricity and lighting.

The district was due for a visit from the NEASC, which assessed all the schools, while the New England Common Assessment Program tests suggested that Gilford schools were still in need of improvement in literacy and math skills. In response to recent reports, the School Board has worked on ways to improve student and professional learning. One new plan includes Delayed Entry Wednesdays, put into place last school trimester. The delays allow for "team time" and more teacher collaboration in order to meet these goals.

GMS had to close for two weeks earlier in the year, due to an unexpected flood, and flood damage inflicted on the building.

For the GHS 2009 fall football season, varsity head football coach Michael Dubois faced misdemeanor charges and was replaced by former Laconia Youth Football Association coach Mark Brewer. Charges against Dubois included false swearing statements, and allegedly forging a document with his separated wife's name, Deborah Dubois.

The Gilford School District had to prepare for the pandemic H1NI this past fall season, and took extra health precautions to ensure the well being of their students. Influenza-like symptoms have spread across the state of New Hampshire, and Gilford reported two H1NI cases in their school system.

The School Board's Meadows project proposal to develop the land, given as a gift, for athletic purposes was challenged by the Conservation Commission based on wetland and flooding concerns. The Conservation Commission attempted to appeal the board's Dredge and Fill permit, and the Department of Environmental Services said they needed more information from the board, before allowing any alterations to take place. The project would include an expanded athletic field, parking, and concessions stands, but it is on hold until further tests and paper work are completed.

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