EPPING — Two finalists have been chosen as possible replacements for Epping School District Superintendent Valerie McKenney as she plans to retire at the end of the school year.

William Furbush, superintendent for the Pelham School District, and Rochester Middle School Principal Adam Houghton are the candidates in the running for the district’s top job.

McKenney, who announced last summer that she planned to retire this June, was hired in 2015 after serving as principal of Rochester Middle School.

According to the state Department of Education, McKenney’s salary this school year is $130,728.

The finalists were picked through a search process that involved assistance from Bryan Group LLC, a consulting firm that serves the education and business sectors.

A 12-member superintendent search committee was formed with administrators, teachers, students, parents and community members.

The Bryan Group coached and instructed the committee through competency-based hiring practices.

A community meet-and-greet is planned for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the middle school gymnasium.

The search committee will meet to review community input.

The candidates, along with the committee’s recommendations, will be presented to the school board on Jan. 30.

Furbush, who was described by the committee as having a passion for competency-based education and personalized learning, is a former assistant superintendent in School Administrative Unit 16, which serves Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham.

Furbush was also principal of the Cooperative Middle School in Stratham for several years.

“He understands that culture and climate are essential components to successful changes and has worked hard to show strengths in collaboration and consensus building, while putting students at the forefront of his decisions. The committee thinks his focus and result-oriented mindset will be a great fit for the Epping School District,” the committee said in a statement.

Before becoming Rochester Middle School principal, where he worked to implement competency-based education, Houghton was the school’s assistant principal. He spent 10 years with School Administrative Unit 23, which serves Bath, Benton, Haverhill Cooperative, Piermont and Warren.

While working for SAU 23, Houghton served as an assistant to the superintendent, a computer teacher and director of technology.

“His experiences have allowed him to gain knowledge in community building, curriculum oversight, budgeting, educational technology, and grant management. His previous administrative and technology background would be welcomed in the Epping School District,” the committee said.


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