BEDFORD — After 40 years in education, Superintendent Tim Mayes will retire June 30. Mayes was instrumental in bringing a high school to Bedford, and said he will leave knowing the district is in good hands.
Mayes announced his retirement at the Jan. 13 School Board meeting, and asked members to consider naming Chip McGee his successor — a recommendation that is being taken seriously.
School Board Chairman Terry Wolf said the board has entered into contract negotiations with McGee and expects a successful agreement to be announced soon. McGee has served as Bedford’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and assessments for 10 years.
“It adds a sense of continuity to the district, and he has a good relationship with the people in the district and the community,” Mayes said. “I have a really good, comfortable feeling of what Chip is going to do. I have no regrets, and I think Chip and the people in the district will make a good team.”
Mayes has led the Bedford School District since December 2001, first serving as assistant superintendent of finance, and then succeeding Superintendent Ann Remus in July 2006. Mayes was principal of Concord High School for four years before coming to Bedford.
Mayes grew up in Keene and graduated from the University of New Hampshire at Durham. He started his career as a math teacher and sports coach in Salem.
Mayes and his wife, Karen, will celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in June. She is a special education teacher in Amherst, and recently announced her retirement as well. Mayes said he’s looking forward to some time off with his family.
“Karen and I will spend a nice time together, and I’ll try to be a good dad and grandfather to my 3-year-old grandson, Charlie,” Mayes said, adding the couple has two adult children, Brett and Kiersten.
Part of Mayes’ accomplishments was ensuring that Bedford students could continue their education in town from pre-kindergarten through high school. For more than 84 years, Bedford high schoolers had attended Manchester West High School.
“I came to Bedford when the district was beginning conversations about having a high school here. I feel really good in where we are in the district today. In 2007, we were opening a middle school and high school and restructuring the other schools. It was a lot of moving parts, and we wanted to do it right,” Mayes said.
Under Mayes’ leadership, the district and students have earned several awards. In 2013, Bedford High School was selected as the New Hampshire Secondary School of Excellence, and the district was recognized by Forbes Magazine as being the No. 1 “Best Schools for Your Housing Buck” district in the Northeast, a region that includes New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
When Forbes made the announcement in September, Mayes credited the partnership between the staff and parents, and said he always looks for ways in which the district could improve.
“This is a recognition of what the community does and what parents do in addition to the students and staff,” said Mayes in September. “I think when you look at a lot of different metrics, such as parental involvement, how kids do on state and federal tests and the cost per pupil, the results are very good.”
If contract negotiations go as planned, McGee will step in and lead the district into the future of education.
McGee, 43, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated with a history degree at Brown University in Rhode Island. He earned a master’s in business administration at Columbia Business School, and a doctorate in education from Columbia University in a joint program. He taught physical science and history at the Beacon School in New York City, which has a reputation as the best high school in the city, he said.
McGee and his wife, Mary Merkel, a family doctor at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Merrimack, moved to New Hampshire in 2002. Initially, McGee worked as a visiting professor at Franklin Pierce College, now a university.
“Thank goodness Ann Remus decided to read my resume,” he said.
McGee said he is grateful to have worked with Mayes over the past 10 years and is looking forward to what he and the district will be able to do in the next few years.
“There’s a lot of changes coming in education, and I think this district is set up as well as anybody to deal with those changes,” McGee said.
The changes, he said, will occur in technology, global competition and developing programs that will challenge all students.
“For me, the big thing is keeping track of students’ social and emotional development, as well as academics,” he said.