LONDONDERRY — The school district will welcome a new principal at Londonderry Middle School.

William Van Bennekum was named the new administrator at the middle school, approved by the school board at a meeting April 2.

Van Bennekum will replace Richard Zacchilli, who will retire from the job at the end of June.

Van Bennekum currently serves as principal at Holderness Central School, where he has spent the last 12 years. Known as an energetic and student-centered principal, he said he can't wait to take the top job at the middle school in Londonderry.

"I can't wait to get started," Van Bennekum said. "Londonderry Middle School has done some great work in combining the opportunities of a larger school with the personal interactions of a smaller one. I'm excited to join the team.

Van Bennekum was selected from a field of 27 applicants, and brings a wealth of experience in leadership to the job, officials stated in a press release. The search committee consisted of 17 faculty, staff, administrators and parents.

"We were looking for an experienced building principal with the energy to challenge and support our staff," Superintendent Scott Laliberte said. "Mr. Van Bennekum emerged as that sort of leader."

After Zacchilli announced his retirement, board members said at an earlier meeting they appreciated all he brought to the school district over the years.

"The joy he feels for his work was always evident," board member Jenn Ganem said. "The love for children was a constant."

Zacchilli has spent 39 years as an educator and administrator, coming to Londonderry after having positions in other school districts and  spending years at Matthew Thornton and North elementary schools, Moose Hill School, and eventually taking the helm at the middle school

Lalibert said he is confident Van Bennekum will fit in with the middle school and its staff.

"We believe he will bring a balance to the position that builds upon the legacy that Mr. Zacchilli has created there, while challenging us to build upon those accomplishments.

Van Bennekum officially assumes his duties July 1, but will be attending events and transition meetings at the middle school prior to that date.

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