By John Toole
---- — WINDHAM – The two finalists for school superintendent are Timberlane Regional School District assistant superintendent Winfried Feneberg and former North Andover assistant superintendent Richard Bergeron.
Bergeron is superintendent of the Contoocook Valley Regional School District, a post he has held since 2007.
The Windham School District announced the finalists yesterday.
A community forum with the two finalists will be held Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Windham High School. The finalists will take questions from the public.
Today, tomorrow and Friday they will tour schools and meet with faculty, staff, administrators and the School Board.
“They are both very qualified to do this job,” School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said.
There were 16 applicants, several from out of state, Anderson said.
The School Board is aiming to hire a new superintendent early next year as it prepares for the retirement of Henry LaBranche and its split from School Administrative Unit 28 and Pelham next summer.
Windham will become standalone SAU 95 in July, a move voters approved in March.
Feneberg, 52, was a finalist for the Timberlane superintendent post earlier this year. He was acting superintendent after the departure of Richard La Salle.
But the School Board chose Earl Metzler instead.
Feneberg has served as assistant superintendent of SAU 55, which includes the Timberlane and Hampstead districts, since 2007. He was previously a special education director for Hampstead and a school psychologist for Timberlane.
He has a master’s degree from the University of Munich and a certificate of advanced graduate study from Northeastern University.
“He’s extremely bright, he’s a deep thinker, he has great personal skills,” La Salle said of his former assistant. “His total focus is on the well-being of children.”
La Salle, now executive director for the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center in Bedford, said Feneberg would be “an awesome superintendent,” and praised his planning and communication skills.
“It’s a wonderful community, it’s a high achieving community,” Feneberg said, when asked what attracted him to the Windham job.
Feneberg’s main priority if he gets the post would be serving the students of the district, continuing on the path of providing them with an excellent education, he said.
“I think with any new school job you need to find out what the priorities are and implement the existing strategic plan,” he said.
Bergeron, 62, also was superintendent in Boxborough, Mass., a principal and teacher.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Lowell State College, a master’s degree from Fitchburg State, a certificate of advanced graduate study from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and a doctorate from Boston College.
Bergeron said he was brought into Contoocook Valley to “right the ship” six years ago.
“I’m ready for a different set of challenges,” he said yesterday.
The sprawling Contoocook Valley SAU includes nine towns and 11 schools.
“I very much need and want a school district where I can literally be visible,” Bergeron said.
Contoocook would be sorry to lose him.
“You couldn’t get somebody better, I really feel that way,” Contoocook Board Chairman Quentin Estey said.
Estey described Bergeron as “a workaholic” who is on the job from early morning to late at night.
“His strong suit is curriculum,” he said. “He’s really brought our facilities into the 21st century.
Estey praised Bergeron’s work to get a $4 million high school gym complex renovation and computerized management of school buildings.
“It’s saving us money,” he said.
Bergeron has upgraded technology, pushed staff development and ended contract conflicts with teachers, Estey said.
“He’s always one to come up with innovative ideas on how to make things work,” he said.