MANCHESTER — The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications will begin the new year with a new executive director.
After two decades with the school, first as a teacher and then as director, veteran newsman David Tirrell-Wysocki is retiring. Taking his place will be Laura Simoes, who has worked in journalism, public affairs, marketing and strategic communications.
Tirrell-Wysocki, a retired Associated Press reporter, was one of the school’s first instructors in 2000. Three classes were offered back then. The teacher became executive director in 2007, and the program has since expanded to 16 six-week classes this year, plus one-day workshops and partnerships with other statewide groups.
Tirrell-Wysocki said he was “very grateful that the school trusted me as the steward of Mrs. Loeb’s legacy here. I think she would be proud to know that thousands of people have attended programs she inspired — learning about the First Amendment and becoming better communicators.”
Nackey S. Loeb was the longtime president and publisher of the Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News. She founded the nonpartisan, nonprofit school in Manchester in 1999 with the goal of promoting and defending the First Amendment and fostering interest and excellence in journalism and other forms of communication. She died in 2000.
Most of the school’s offerings are free of charge and are taught by media and business professionals from around the state. Students of all ages, including many representatives of New Hampshire nonprofit organizations, have taken classes.
This “feels like an increasingly important time to be working for an organization dedicated to teaching people how to consume, produce and share news and information, as well as working to promote and defend the First Amendment,” Simoes said. She said she was “honored to continue the good work of Dave Tirrell-Wysocki, my long-time friend and colleague, and I’m eager to advance the mission, along with our board, volunteers, donors, teachers and students.”
For the past 25 years, Simoes has managed communications and public policy campaigns for nonprofits; corporations; and local, state and federal government. She brings to the school a strong background in strategic communications and management.
She is a former staff member for U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and has worked for the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. With an undergraduate degree in communications and graduate degree in business, she is a candidate for a PhD in Applied Linguistics.
Simoes has also been an adjunct professor in communications at Southern New Hampshire University since 2014.
In making the announcement, school President Joseph W. McQuaid said that “David has brought so much experience and talent to the school from which we will benefit for years to come.” He said that “Laura brings her own strengths and energy to the job, and we expect she and the core of teachers here will build on a tremendous and solid foundation.”
The school presented its annual First Amendment honors program last Tuesday, recognizing the late Dr. Ed Kois, who prompted changes in VA medical facilities around the country by exposing poor conditions and treatment at the VA Medical Center in Manchester.
The school is the majority owner of Union Leader Corp., publisher of New Hampshire statewide newspapers and UnionLeader.com, its news and information website.
Registration is open for 2020 classes and workshops at loebschool.org.