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Merrimack High School principal retiring

Union Leader Correspondent

March 09. 2018 9:16PM
Principal Ken Johnson, a staple at Merrimack High School, will retire on June 30. (Kimberly Houghton/Union Leader Correspondent)

MERRIMACK — School officials have selected a new principal to lead Merrimack High School this summer.

Principal Ken Johnson will be retiring at the end of the current school year. The longtime principal was instrumental in creating the school motto — “Believe, go forward and inspire.”

The school board recently voted to accept his retirement notice and hire Sharon Putney to fill the role starting on July 1.

“I am looking forward to continuing the great work of Ken Johnson,” Putney said on Wednesday.

Putney is the current principal at Matthew Thornton Elementary School in Londonderry where she has worked for the past five years.

Previously, Putney worked for the Merrimack School District as the Gateway coordinator for 18 years. She also served five years as principal at Thorntons Ferry Elementary School in Merrimack.

“I am just so thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to Merrimack. It is a great community with great parents, kids and staff. I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Putney, who resides in Milford.

She worked 23 years in Merrimack before taking a role in the Londonderry School District. Putney said she was not looking for a new job, but could not pass up the opportunity to take an administrative position at Merrimack High.

She plans to visit the school prior to taking on the new role to meet with Johnson and the school’s two assistant principals to learn more and prepare for the position.

Putney has worked previously with assistant principals Peter Bergeron and Richard Zampieri.

“I am looking forward to the collaboration and being a strong admin team,” she said.

Johnson, who has been the local principal since 2002, said this week that he has been surrounded by supportive communities, outstanding professionals and worked with thousands of students throughout his career.

“I will never forget them as these kids and teachers continue to inspire me,” he said. “As I have had the opportunity to reflect upon my career these past few weeks, each step along the way has been filled with valuable experiences.” While Pinkerton Academy provided Johnson with his first opportunity as an educator, he later found his soul at Alvirne High School, grew professionally at Con-Val High School and ultimately found his home in Merrimack, he said.

Putney is moving from a school with 550 students to Merrimack High, which has more than 1,200 students. Putney said she is ready for the challenge.

“I am embracing it,” she added.

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