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Epping School District

New Principal for Seacoact School of Technology (SST)

 

Wilson selected to lead Seacoast School of Technology By Lara Bricker / news@seacoastonline.com Posted Mar 21, 2019 at 6:03 PM Updated Mar 21, 2019 at 6:03 PM EXETER -- Sharon Wilson, current assistant principal at Nashua High School North, was selected as the next principal of Seacoast School of Technology.

Wilson and the other finalist for the post, Michael Koski, participated in a public interview before the Exeter Region Cooperative School Board Tuesday night. Following the interview, which included 10 questions for each, the board deliberated in non-public session.

Superintendent David Ryan said the board voted unanimously to offer the position to Wilson, who is expected to take the reins July 1. She will replace Margaret Callahan, who announced plans last fall to leave her post after 13 years. Wilson recognized that Callahan is well respected statewide.

“I am very sensitive to the fact that it is going to be very difficult for people to have her leave,” Wilson said Tuesday. “I would not ever approach anything in the manner of not respecting the work and foundation that she has built. I would want to carry forward with her work.”

Twelve applicants were initially considered and six were brought in for interviews. Koski and Wilson were selected as finalists following the in-person interview round. Koski is director of science and engineering in the Windham School District.

Koski talked about his role in growing the computer science curriculum in Windham and engaging with the community during his interview.

“With that kind of background, the SST position is appealing,” he said. “I’m attracted to that kind of education and I feel like the SST is nicely situated for future growth.”

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4/1/2019 Wilson selected to lead Seacoast School of Technology - News - seacoastonline.com - Portsmouth, NH

Both candidates pointed to cybersecurity as an emerging career field for students, while Wilson also mentioned “robot algebra” as an alternative path for students to meet core competencies if traditional algebra was not their strength.

Wilson has been at Nashua High School North since 2012. She was previously an assistant principal at Manchester Central High School. She began her career as an English teacher in Goffstown in 1997, before moving to Manchester Central as an English teacher in 1998.

She spoke of her work with the student newspaper in Manchester as being extremely rewarding and something that inspired her interest in the SST position.

“It was a really exciting and very challenging position, but the best thing about it was I would see the kids so invested in what they were doing. It meant something to them,” she said.

Both finalists spoke to the challenges of career and technical education (CTE) in the state. Koski said there is a need to overcome the stigma that CTE is a lesser form of education while educating students about income potential in CTE jobs.

Wilson referenced a film being done at the state level to promote CTE programs and suggested the potential of an SST alumni group to build a network. She also suggested starting the education about CTE at the elementary level.

“There are still so many people who don’t understand the valuable richness that is in our day-to-day CTE programs,” she said.

Wilson discussed her track record of building relationships in the community that benefit the school.

“If you’re part of the school, you’re part of the community. You want to be out there invested in the community,” she said, pointing to her work with the United Way and local businesses. “It’s all about relationship building. If I am fortunate enough to be the successful candidate, that’s one of the things I immediately need to start looking at.”

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Wilson said was connected to CTE programs in both Manchester and Nashua. As an English teacher, she modified her curriculum to appeal to a group of CTE students she taught.

“For me, this is my heart calling me,” she said of the transition to SST. “I really want personalized learning experiences for kids where they are creating some of the learning,” she said. “It is student-driven learning.”

As preparation for her interviews, Wilson said she reached out to CTE directors around the state and learned when there were upcoming CTE meetings she might attend.

Wilson has a bachelor’s of arts in English from the University of New Hampshire, a master’s degree in secondary school English and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study from New England College.

Callahan joined SST as its assistant principal in 2005 and took over as principal in 2007. She has not said what her future plans are but noted she wanted to give the district plenty of time to find a replacement.

SST serves more than 800 high school students from Region 18, which includes Epping, Exeter, Newmarket, Raymond, Sanborn Regional and Winnacunnet high schools.

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