LACONIA – Newly named Laconia schools Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said he thinks one of his biggest challenges when he comes to Laconia in July will be to continually provide support to the transient student population.
He said Monday that he is excited and challenged by working in a district where the student body is facing increasing economic challenges and is proud to be working for one where the administration and School Board are so dedicated to them.
"Laconia has so many good programs and good things already in place," said Minnihan.
Minnihan was chosen in a meeting held early Saturday morning and was one of two candidates who made it through the long application process. He holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Carnegie Mellon University, a master's from Penn State and his doctorate from Indiana University. He is currently the superintendent in the Contoocook Valley Regional School District.
Minnihan said he is very impressed with the student body. During one of his tours of the Laconia High School, the students he spoke with were "very articulate and passionate."
Minnihan was also impressed with Laconia's facilities and appreciates the way the district has been able to continue to make improvements at the older schools like the high school despite the loss of the state building aid program.
Another positive he sees in Laconia is the excellence of the past and current administration and the dedication of the School Board to all of the people of Laconia. He said he has spoken with a number of people who have worked in the district and all of them had good things to say.
When asked about the recent Smarter Balanced tests and the School Board's desire to see considerable improvement in the lower grades, he said the district has to do what it can to provide technology knowledge to its youngest students.
"We need them to be technologically rich and get lots of practice," he said. "It's a shame we did poorly – not because we didn't know the material, but because we were unfamiliar with the mechanics of the test-taking," he said.
For at least his first year in Laconia, Minnihan said he would continue to live in a Con-Val Regional School District community because his daughter will be a senior there next year.
"We promised her [she could graduate with her class] when I applied for this appointment, but after that we'll just have to see," he said.
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