EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 30, 2014

Three finalists named in Hampstead principal search

HAMPSTEAD — Three finalists have been named in a principal search at Hampstead Middle School, including one person already working for the district.

School officials are hiring a school leader to replace Patti Grassbaugh, Hampstead Middle principal since 1999. She retires on June 30, assistant superintendent Roxanne Wilson said.

The finalists are: Maria Di Nola, 55, assistant principal at Timberlane High School; Christi Michaud, 38, principal at Golden Brook Elementary School in Windham; and Sean Pine, 49, principal at the Auburn Village School in Auburn.

The finalists come from an opening field of 17 candidates that responded to a job posting at the beginning of April. Six of the candidates were interviewed for the job last week, Wilson said.

All three candidates said their time as administrators in public schools and eagerness to come to Hampstead make them perfect for job.

But they each presented their views of the job differently.

Michaud, whose school serves about 225 students up to grade two with some third-graders, said she sees a unique opportunity waiting for her in Hampstead.

“I’ve applied for the principal’s position at Hampstead Middle School as an opportunity to lead, inspire and motivate a unique age group during a time of vast educational change, advancing technology, and societal shifts,” Michaud said.

Pine is in charge of 570 students from kindergarten to grade eight, including 280 middle school children. The older students are where his passion lies.

“I’m interested in pursuing that passion at Hampstead, a highly regarded school district,” Pine said. “It’s well supported by the parents and community in general, and we honor a lot of traditions we have here.”

Di Nola, meanwhile, says her experience at the high school will help students prepare for the last leg of their secondary education.

“I know what kids need to come up and be successful,” Di Nola said. “I think that’s extremely pertinent in preparing kids at the middle school level.”

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