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Three candidates in the running for new SAU 15 Superintendent

Union Leader Correspondent

January 12. 2018 9:29PM
The three finalists for the SAU 15 school superintendent position met residents on Friday. From left are Christopher Pratt, Dr. Chris Martin and William Van Bennekum. (Melissa Proulx/Union Leader Correspondent)

HOOKSETT — Three candidates vying for the top educator position in SAU 15 met with residents on Friday.

The community forum was held at the David R. Cawley Middle School, with about 100 people in attendance.

The three candidates are:

• Dr. Chris Martin, principal at Beech Street Elementary School in Manchester. Two years prior to this, she worked as the assistant superintendent of Elementary Education in Manchester, as well as a music teacher, director of Fine Arts, director of Greater Manchester Professional Development Center and principal of Webster School in Manchester. She’s been teaching since 1988.

She said she’s gotten to work with kids from the district before in her Manchester career and admires the rich, creative ideas they have. “You’ve done a lot of good things here,” she said.

• William Van Bennekum, the principal at Holderness Central School, where he’s been for the last decade.

“This is a great district,” Van Bennekum said, adding that he was attracted to the position as a way to take the next step in his career.

• Christopher Pratt, the superintendent of Windham Southwest Supervisory Union in Vermont, where he’s been since 2014. Before that, he also worked in other education positions including principal, assistant principal and special education teacher. Pratt has over 23 years of experience. He’s also been a finalist in two other districts: SAU 53 and SAU 16.

Pratt said he was attracted to the position because of the full spectrum approach to education the district takes, including social and emotional. “I think that’s commendable,” he said.

The chosen candidate would be responsible for about 2,300 students in the three different towns that make up the district: Auburn, Candia and Hooksett.

The towns, which have five schools in all, have students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each town sends students off to neighboring communities for high school.

Combined, the operating budget for all of the towns is about $57 million.

Current Superintendent Dr. Charles “Phil” Littlefield has served as head of the district for more than half a decade and is expected to step down this year.

A transition team will meet soon to go over the evaluation sheets turned in by residents and look at choosing the next superintendent.

Education Schools General News Auburn Candia Hooksett Local and County Government


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