Mark Hayward's City Matters: A new principal heads to West High
The abundance of summer, the repose of autumn, and — of course — the rebirth of spring. Poets and artists always look to spring as the proverbial season of renewal and rebirth.
"He loves being around kids. His energy level meets or exceeds theirs," said David Ryan, the Nashua North principal who, by coincidence, is leaving his job to become assistant superintendent in Manchester.
"Chris likes to work with the student who has the least amount of advocacy because he wants to provide that advocacy for them," Ryan said.
A Nashua native, Motika said his five years as assistant principal at Nashua North prepared him for the West job. He said the school's portion of minority and working class students resembles that of Nashua North.
Ryan and Avard are pleased with what they've seen of Motika already. He's met with Forrest Ransdell, the principal of the West Side's Parkside Middle School. He's met with former West principal (and mayor) Bob Baines. (Motika said he hasn't reached out to MaryEllen McGorry, the West principal forced from her job last school year for undisclosed reasons.)
No one doubts the potential exists for West. Dust-covered plans at the central office call for converting West into a magnet school. It already hosts the city's only Junior ROTC program and a nationally recognized theater arts program, Avard said. He wants to see more magnet programs developed.
Avard said that won't happen.
If Motika succeeds, Avard acknoweldges, the notion of closing West goes away. And Avard, whose passion for West runs deep, said he is impressed with Motika.
Mark Hayward's City Matters runs Thursdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader and on UnionLeader.com.
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