SAU 58 gains local Superintendent
March 17, 2010GROVETON — James "Dan" Shallow will be taking the reins as the new SAU 58 superintendent and will be using his local knowledge to get the job done.
"I am familiar with what's going on in the SAU," said Mr. Shallow, "I didn't want someone coming in ...out of state and force programs not workable in our area. I also saw the potential problem of working under that person."
A New Hampshire native, Mr. Shallow had to compete with 13 other applicants, both in and out of state, to clinch the three year term that he won in a seven to two vote by the SAU Board at a March 2 meeting.
The application process started with 14, but it was clear what direction the SAU wanted to go in when it eventually came down to just two who were local school administrators— Mr. Shallow and Groveton High School Principal Pierre Couture.
"I feel that both of them could do the job," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Ron Paquette, "I was comfortable with either one and saw the benefit of someone coming from within."
Dr. Paquette recalled what it was first like coming into the position and noted that Mr. Shallow will have to deal with the same money issues.
"When I came in I told them 'I do not grow money in my back yard'," he said, "Money is an issue here and how to bring in new monies to the district. It's a hard thing to do, financial resources have been strapped thin."
Mr. Shallow is, however, no stranger to dealing with budgetary problems. "The biggest challenge is to deal with the economics in the area and budgetary expenses," he said, "I cut $271,000 out of (the Stratford School Budget), which is about half the size of Groveton's cost."
A challenge that Stratford High School has had to deal besides a budgetary one is the constant rotation in the principal position. This is Mr. Shallow's second year as principal and he believes that the school can survive without him.
"I love Stratford and would have been happy to stay, but I think there are qualified people that know the needs of Stratford."
The process of finding a new Stratford principal is already underway with a few applications already sent in. One of those that wish to step up into the position includes Stratford's assistant Principal Kevin James who has been in said position for three years. Mr. Shallow commented that the goal is to have the position filled by the middle of May.
There are a number of things that Mr. Shallow has to take care of in his final months as principal including graduation, state testing and a $346,000 Federal grant that has been recently approved.
The grant will go to a number of schools in N.H. including Stratford school. According to Mr. Shallow the money will be used to pay for a consultant to help integrate technology in the classroom to show students how to make power points and utilize free audio editing software like Audigy.
The legacy that Dr. Paquette hopes he has left behind is the drive for all the districts to work and communicate with each other and believes the result will be stable school economics.
"I think that we have started a really good dialogue," he said, "We've made baby steps to work together ... as an SAU."
Dr. Paquette expressed how lucky he felt to preside over a school district like Groveton that had two teams with championship titles. He also noted that the integration of two talented Stratford athletes to the boy's team was a good example of district collaboration that he hopes will continue on in other aspects.
The changing of the superintendent guard will occur at the end of June and although Dr. Paquette will no longer be a starting player he plans to help with the transition.