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Labs named NH Superintendent of the Year

December 15, 2010
WARREN — A local school official was named one of the state's best by a panel of his peers last week.

The New Hampshire School Administrators Association announced Friday that Bruce C. Labs, Superintendent of Schools for SAU 23 (which includes Warren, Bath, Benton, Haverhill Cooperative, and Piermont) has been named New Hampshire's Superintendent of the Year for 2011.

According to a press release issued by the Administrators Association last week, Labs was selected for the honor from a distinguished group of nominees, and by a panel of his peers, including Michael Morgan, Superintendent of SAU 16, who referred to him as an "unsung hero"; a man who has devoted the vast majority of his professional and personal life to the students and school professionals of New Hampshire's North Country.

Morgan went on to explain that Labs has managed to shoulder the daily complexities of an SAU covering five separate districts and 225 square miles without the help of an assistant superintendent, aided only by a Special Education administrator and a financial manager.

"Bruce not only possesses a vision of how education should be, but knows how to articulate it to draw support from teachers, students, school boards, and the community," Newbury Elementary School Interim Principal Don Weisberger said of Labs last week.

"Bruce does not micro-manage," he added. "Having worked his way up through the ranks, he understands the jobs and roles that various professionals have and empowers principals to be and do the best that they can."

Donald Bagley, Chairman of the Warren Village School Board, praised Labs for his resourceful and effective leadership in the face of a staffing crisis that left the Warren district with no principal and no available funds to hire one last fall.

"Bruce proposed the establishment of a four-person leadership team of teachers and staff to provide daily guidance at the school, while (he) would serve in the official capacity of principal and meet with the leadership team two or three times a week," Bagley explained. "The school had one of the best years on record."

Philip Tucker of the Haverhill Cooperative School Board also had high praise for Labs' "tireless" work to expand early childhood education by offering morning sessions to target special education and Title I children, and morning and afternoon sessions to three- and four-year-olds throughout the district.

Labs began training for a career in education at New England College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education. He went on to earn his Master of Education degree at Plymouth State College (now Plymouth State University), and has continued to pursue graduate work in Educational Administration at the University of New Hampshire.

He started his educational career in 1973 as an elementary school teacher. In 1983, he became the Assistant Principal at Woodsville High School, where he also served as a board member for the consortium on Education Excellence.

Over the years, Labs has also served as President of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association; as a member of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges; and on a number of committees geared at improving the educational environment in Woodsville and beyond before becoming Superintendent of SAU 23, headquartered in Penacook, where has remained since.

Labs currently resides in Piermont with his wife, Kathleen, and daughters Kara and Shannon.

"Bruce is a wonderful example of a true champion for children, working tirelessly on behalf of the children and citizens of his communities," said Mark V. Joyce, Executive Director of the Administrators Association.

As a result of his selection as New Hampshire's Superintendent of the Year, Labs will receive a special award during the National Conference on Education in Denver, Colo. in February.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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