BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham School Board voted unanimously last week to hire from within when choosing who will replace Bellows Falls Middle School Assistant Principal Dale Chenette starting July 1.
Social studies teacher Sean Gould was tapped to move up the ranks following an application and interview process, and School Board members authorized School Superintendent Chris Kibbe to negotiate a contract with him.
Gould, 39, told the Reformer he has taught seventh and eighth grade social studies for the past nine years and enters a two-year post-master's certification program this summer. Though he will still go forward with the program, he wasn't expecting to apply for an administration job until he had completed the program. He decided to apply, however, after hearing Chenette is leaving.
"I really feel (the public education system overall) is really antiquated. It's been this way for 100 years and time to do something about that," Gould said Friday. "I just feel like a leadership role will give me more of an opportunity to do that."
He told the Reformer he hopes to focus on having a more creative schedule that services students a little better. He said it is vital to target students who have deficiencies in certain areas. Gould, who lives in Walpole, N.H., with his wife and three children, would also like to stay on top of bullying and harassment. Though he said it is no more of a problem at BFMS than anywhere else, it is important to maintain vigilance to prevent it.
Rockingham School Board Chairman Jim "Jiggs" McAuliffe said Gould was picked following a brief interview held in executive session Monday. He said Kibbe and BFMS Principal Heidi Lucas-Moccia reported there were 26 candidates who applied for the assistant principal job and that number was whittled to three that were interviewed. McAuliffe said Gould was the unanimous choice of the interview committee.
"What impressed (the School Board) is that he's a very well-spoken young man, and he has been a teacher for nine or 10 years and he has made the decision that would like to go into administration," he told the Reformer. "To me, being able to hire somebody that you know the principal is excited about, that knows the staff, knows the kids and knows building is real advantage.
"I think it is going to work out well," he continued. "We'll enjoy him taking over that position."
Gould said it gives him a confidence boost to know the vote was unanimous.
Chenette's resignation was accepted, with regret, at a School Board meeting on April 7. He told board members and the Reformer his decision to leave came after much consideration. He will finish the current school year and his resignation will be effective June 30, which is why Gould's tenure starts on July 1. Chenette used to teach in Tennessee and made the choice to return to the Volunteer State. He will move into a house he owns there and plans to find a teaching job.
"I've been renting out the house the last few years. My tenants are getting ready to move on," he said. "I thought about it and I'm kind of a city person."
He said Memphis has more of a city feel than Vermont and he has an affinity for southern culture. But he was quick to say he loved the time he spent working in Bellows Falls. Chenette, who hails from Connecticut, started at BFMS the same time as Lucas-Moccia. He worked at Riverside Middle School in Springfield prior to taking his job at BFMS.
McAuliffe told the Reformer all Rockingham School Board members wish Chenette well in his career.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @ dpoli_reformer.