BROOKLINE — Captain Samuel Douglass Academy will have a new principal at the end of the school year when Principal Laurie Wenger brings her 35-year career in education to a close.
Last week, the school district announced that Dennis Dobe has been hired to replace Wenger, who will retire at the end of the year. Dobe, 50, has spent the last four years as principal of the Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia, where he said the teachers and staff created a school that is “rich, dynamic and wonderful on so many levels.”
But Dobe, who lives in Hopkinton, said he believes administrators need to move from time to time in order to continue improving. He has served as principal at Newfields Elementary School and as assistant principal at Stratham Memorial School, Bow Elementary School and West Running Brook Middle School in Derry.
“You bring the school to the best place you can, but you never want to overstay your welcome and become stale,” he said. “In Laconia, we’ve come far in the last four years and we’re in a good place now so I’m comfortable handing the reins to someone else.”
Dobe has a master’s degree from Plymouth State University and said education runs in his family. His wife is a school teacher and his daughter, who also graduated from Plymouth State, is a paraprofessional. His eldest son attends Plymouth State and his youngest is a sophomore at Hopkinton High School.
Dobe said he was lured to apply for the principal position in Brookline by the district’s reputation for strong academic achievement, a diverse student body and a great staff.
“The staff is so dedicated to the students, to making ongoing improvements at the school, and they’re incredibly professional,” he said. “That’s very impressive to me.”
Dobe will start at Captain Samuel Douglass Academy on July 1, at which point Wenger will begin a new life as a retiree.
“I want to take advantage of all the things you don’t have time to do when you have a job like this,” she said.
Wenger began teaching in 1978 and worked at districts in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire before settling in Brookline, where she has been for 19 years. When Captain Samuel Douglass opened in 2000, she was the assistant principal and became head of the school in 2002.
Painting, reading, and traveling are some of the things she’d like to enjoy more of when the school year ends, but at the top of her list is visiting the youngest members of her family.
“I have two grandchildren in upstate New York that I’d like to spend a lot more time with,” she said.