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New headmaster eager to take the reins at Pinkerton

Union Leader Correspondent

July 06. 2014 8:06PM
Griffin Morse sits on the steps of Pinkerton Building recently. (HUNTER McGEE/Union Leader Correspondent)

DERRY — As Pinkerton Academy’s new headmaster, Griffin Morse is eager to meet students and begin leading the high school into its third century.

Morse, who has strong ties to the Granite State, took over as headmaster on July 1. He succeeds Mary Anderson, who retired last month after 12 years in the post.

Morse comes to Pinkerton after serving 12 years at School Year Abroad in Spain, where he was the residential director.

Morse’s relocation from Spain to New Hampshire returns him to his roots. He has extensive family in the New Hampshire-Boston area and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy.

“I don’t use a map when I drive around the state,” Morse said. “It’s coming home and being back in the space I know and love.”

To become more visible on campus, Morse’s first order of business has been to start the process of moving his office from across the street to the Pinkerton Building on campus.

“As part of my hiring, discussion started immediately about being a more visible and student-focused headmaster — and that’s my style, and that’s what I requested,” he said.

Morse and his staff are currently working out of an office in the Stearns House, where the previous two headmasters had their offices. The Pinkerton Building was selected as the site for his office because of its proximity to students and historical significance, he said.

“So, in a sense we are going back in time and we are going back to a different era,” he said, adding that he is “very excited about the move.”

There is another element to Morse’s move as he also plans to live with his family in the nearby Mackenzie House, which is across from the school on Pinkerton Street. The small house is located below the historic Alumni Building.Living close to students and faculty will be a familiar arrangement for Morse. During his stint at the School Year Abroad in Spain, he lived on campus and was accustomed to being around students and faculty members daily. He said he was on duty day and night and virtually every weekend.

“I think it’s important with a school this complex and this big, not only that the headmaster is available for practical reasons but also for support and easy access,” he said. “Clubs and activities and sports are things I want to be involved in.”

Since starting as headmaster, Morse has met with faculty and staff and toured the sprawling campus. While he looks forward to meeting students, he hasn’t encountered many yet since students are on summer break.

“I miss being around students, even after three days,” he said. “It seems like I’m not working at a school yet.”

One proposal he is interested in pursuing involves an “international academy” that would allow Pinkerton students to study abroad.

He said the international academy would be modeled after Pinkerton’s China program, which allows students to spend a few weeks in China.

After settling in, Morse said he plans to help lead the Pinkerton Academy community over the next six months in the 200th anniversary celebration of the high school.

He said it’s clear he will also have discussions with the faculty relating to the course to take as Pinkerton enters its third century.

High schools Derry

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