EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 8, 2013

Windham residents invited to meet superintendent candidates

Residents urged to meet with superintendent candidates

By John Toole

---- — WINDHAM – Town residents can meet the two finalists for school superintendent tonight.

Both are administrators in New Hampshire school districts.

Winfried Feneberg, 52, is assistant superintendent with the Timberlane Regional School District.

Richard Bergeron, 62, is superintendent for the Contoocook Valley Regional School District and is a former assistant superintendent with North Andover schools.

“This is the opportunity for residents to get any direct answers from candidates to questions they may have,” School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said.

It amounts to an important audition for the job.

“The board knows that in Windham the interaction of the superintendent with the public is very crucial,” Anderson said. “So, in watching residents get their issues addressed, the board will be evaluating how the candidates relate to residents.”

He described the two men as “very qualified” when their selection as finalists was announced last month.

Feneberg was a finalist for the Timberlane superintendent post last year and served as acting superintendent after the departure of Richard LaSalle.

LaSalle has described Feneberg as “a deep thinker” with great personal skills who focuses on the well-being of students. The Timberlane job went to Earl Metzler.

Contoocook School Board Chairman Quentin Estey has said Windham “couldn’t get somebody better” than Bergeron, praising his work ethic, expertise in curriculum and innovative ideas.

Windham resident Ken Eyring, who served on a screening panel in the superintendent search process, has appealed in an email to residents to attend the meeting tonight.

“I’m sure we are all interested in finding the best candidate for the job, and I wanted to make sure you were aware of this meeting, and ask that you consider attending,” Eyring wrote.

He said the hiring decision would have a significant impact on Windham’s children and the town.

There will be no final decision tonight, Anderson said.

The board is still talking with people who have worked with the candidates before and plans site visits to their current school districts.

“The forum (tonight) is just one data point in many we are still collecting before we make a decision,” Anderson said.

The board is aiming to name a superintendent early this year, with Superintendent Henry LaBranche stepping down after the school year ends.

The salary for the position is between $130,000 and $140,000.

The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Windham High, 64 London Bridge Road.

The board also will review its presentation for the upcoming budget hearing.

The hearing on the $45 million budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Windham High.

The school deliberative session will be Feb. 8. Town Meeting is March 12.