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New superintendent selected to lead Litchfield schools

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent

February 22. 2018 8:25PM




LITCHFIELD — After an extensive search, school officials have selected the district’s next superintendent. With a unanimous vote, the school board decided to hire Michael Jette to replace retiring Superintendent James O’Neill.

Jette is the current assistant superintendent for the Bedford School District.

“I am very excited for this opportunity,” Jette said on Thursday, adding he is looking forward to meeting people in the district and the Litchfield community.

The move is bittersweet for Jette, who said he will miss working in the Bedford school system. Still, he understands that Litchfield is proud of its schools and he is ready to be a part of the team.

“We feel Mike is a great candidate. He has a number of years of experience behind him,” said Brian Bourque, chairman of the school board.

Jette started his career as a physics and chemistry teacher in 1991. He later served as assistant principal and principal at Merrimack Valley High School in Penacook before beginning his role as assistant superintendent in Bedford.

He has degrees in science and secondary education chemistry, and obtained his doctorate in education in 2005 from the University of New Hampshire.

Bourque said he is pleased that the local school district was able to find a qualified candidate with existing experience as an assistant superintendent.

“I think with Mike, he has a strong curriculum background,” said Bourque, adding Jette’s knowledge and insight will help guide the Litchfield schools.

Jette was selected among a pool of three top candidates, including Jennifer Dolloff and Christine Martin. Dolloff is an educational consultant currently consulting for the Hollis-Brookline School District; Martin is the principal at Beech Street Elementary School in Manchester.

“There were three very qualified candidates and the board went with Mike because we feel with his background, he will fit into the school system very well.” said Bourque, adding he is excited about the board’s decision.

Jette, who came with great recommendations from his superiors, has been offered a three-year contract with the district at a salary of $132,500 a year, according to Bourque.

“I see myself as one member of the team,” said Jette, who said he is optimistic that local voters will support full-day kindergarten at the polls next month.

The current superintendent, James O’Neill, announced last summer that he will retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. O’Neill, of Jaffrey, was hired as the district’s interim superintendent in the summer of 2015; the board later extended his contract to June 2018.

Bourque said O’Neill, who was originally hired as a part-time superintendent, has served the district well, praising him for the work he has done for the district for the past three years.

“Now, it is time for him to really retire,” Bourque said of O’Neill, who will help Jette transition into the head administrative role.

khoughton@newstote.com


Education Litchfield