CONWAY — Machine tool students at the Mount Washington Valley Career and Technical Center at Kennett High School are on schedule to deliver their first sets of parts for the International Space Station this Friday.
Virginia Schrader, director of the MWV Career and Technical Center, shared that news as part of her report to the Conway School Board on Monday night.
The board also received an FYI under “personnel” on its agenda that Stephen Arsenault, a retired high school teacher from Wolfeboro, has stepped in as a long-term substitute teacher until machine tool and metals teacher Andy Shaw returns from suspension on May 15.
Arsenault, 72, who taught machine tooling in Massachusetts and Nashua high schools prior to retiring, passed a criminal background check last month and has been in the classroom ever since.
With any long-term substitute, school officials make the hire on a temporary basis. It does not have to go before the school board for a vote.
“He loves the program and has even donated tools to the (Kennett machine tool) program,” Schrader said.
“I’ve known this man for more decades than I care to admit,” said Joe Lentini, chair of the Conway School Board at Monday’s meeting in the Professional Development Center at Kennett Middle School. “He is a phenomenally skilled machinist with a long history of working in school systems.”
Lentini and Arsenault share a passion for mountain climbing.
“He has one of the most impressive lists of early first assents her in this area along with other areas around the world,” Lentini said. “He’s quite a talented climber, on top of which being a very talented machine tool person who has already donated quite a bit of equipment to our program.”
Colleague Randy Davison was impressed to see Arsenault had been actively involved in SkillsUSA over the years. The program, according to its website, “is a United States career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school, college and middle school students and professional members enrolled in training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.”
“I think he’s well-versed in doing this position, considering he’s been in the field for what looks like almost 60 years,” Davison said. “Welcome aboard.”
Superintendent Kevin Richard said Arsenault and the students “have received quite a bit of support from master craftsmen Rod Henry and George Abbott of the Career-Tech Advisory Board — those guys have really stepped up.”
Schrader said Henry has been in the school every day.
“I thank Rod and George so much for coming in and helping with the machine tool students,” she said. “We will finish by this Friday our first shipment to NASA. We’re keeping up with the contract, things are going well. Rod comes every day, and the kids are active, involved in the shop, and now with Mr. Arsenault there, it’s going really well.”
Shaw, who was charged last November with hosting a drinking party with underage guests and threatened with being fired by Richard, was suspended following a hearing by the school board on Jan. 31 in the Professional Development Center. He had a trial management conference Tuesday (see related story).
According to the Conway police complaint, Shaw had been charged with holding an underage drinking party at his home. The alleged offense occurred Nov. 3 at Shaw’s home at 33 Southview Loop, off East Conway Road in Center Conway, at about 10:33 p.m.
The complaint, written by Conway Police Detective Dominic Torch, said Shaw had knowledge “that people under the age of 21 possessed or intended to consume alcoholic beverages” during a party that he organized at his residence, and, while he was present at the residence, at least five individuals unrelated to him were present and under the age of 21, while at least one individual under the age of 21 consumed or possessed alcohol.”
The school board, after meeting behind closed doors on Jan. 31, to suspend Shaw for more than three months without pay, effective immediately, until May 15.
In addition, Shaw was placed on a three-year, last chance improvement plan with conditions to be established by the superintendent.
Thanks to Shaw’s tutelage, many students have built parts for NASA as part of the HUNCH (High schools United with NASA to Create Hardware) and have interned at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Schrader plans to take the machine tool students on a field trip to Lake Region Vocational Center in Naples, Maine, on Thursday.
“They are hosting a manufacturing career day,” she said, adding that representatives from Pratt & Whitney, an American aerospace manufacturer with global service operations, and Hunting Dearborn of Fryeburg, Maine, “a world leader in Precision CNC Machining services and mission-critical machined components for the most demanding applications,” according to its website, will be there.