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December 11. 2012 9:33PM

Newfound superintendent won't return after illness

BRISTOL - Newfound Area School District Superintendent Marie Ross has notified the district that she will not be returning, so school officials will begin a search for her replacement beginning next week.

Ross suffered a brain hemorrhage on Sept. 29 while visiting her youngest daughter in Maryland, according to her family. She was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital's Neurocritical Care Unit for rehabilitation, but returned to New Hampshire two weeks later to continue her rehabilitation.

She has officially been on leave since Oct. 1. Anticipating that she would return this school year, the school board appointed Dr. Phil McCormack, who retired last year as Inter-Lakes School District's superintendent, for several months.

On Monday, the district received correspondence from Ross saying she would not seek to renew her contract when the current term expires on June 30.

District officials are not sure if Ross' illness prompted her correspondence.

"We have no knowledge of the basis for her decision," said Vincent Paul Migliore, the school board chairman.

But officials are pleased that she made her decision known to them quickly, saying her action shows her "deep concern for the well-being of the children of Newfound and the entire school community," said Daniel Rossner, the district's business administrator.

"This really is her motivation for notifying the school board of this decision," he said. "She wanted to make sure that the district had the proper amount of time and resources to ensure the best possible outcome for the schools and students into which she has poured her heart for the past eight years."

Migliore said the quick notification will allow the district to "get ahead of the game" in its superintendent search.

"She really has done us one more service with this advance notice," he said. "While we are certainly saddened by the loss, it shows her foresight in knowing that the best talent pool in a replacement search would probably be available in January."

The school board has chosen to use an outside firm specializing in educational executive recruiting for the initial search efforts.

The goal is for the firm to screen a field of candidates and bring forward a select group of finalists for board consideration and community input.

Government grants are available to help pay for the search, which will begin on Dec. 19, school officials said.

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Dan Seufert may be reached at dseufert@newstote.com.


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