TAMWORTH – The SAU 13 Joint School Board has announced that Meredith Nadeau has accepted its offer to serve as superintendent of schools, and has signed a two-year contract.
SAU 13 covers Freedom, Madison and Tamworth. The SAU office is in Tamworth.
Nadeau, 49, will start July 1. She and lives in Lee with her husband, Travis, and their two daughters, Delaney, 12 and Teagan, 10.
The joint school board offered Nadeau the job on March 18. After that, she negotiated with board chair Jack Waldron of Tamworth. She and the board sealed the deal Monday.
Asked why she is coming to SAU 13, Nadeau said she enjoys small-town life and grew up in Boscawen.
"Community is really important to me," said Nadeau. "I think schools really are the heart of most communties. ... I think our job in education is to help give kids the best opportunities we can. Whatever path they choose to take we want to prepare them for those journies. I would want the community to know that's what I'm here for."
A search committee received 22 applications for the position and selected Nadeau as the top candidate, said Waldron.
“We are very happy to have signed Ms. Nadeau to serve as our superintendent," said Waldron. "Her qualifications, experience and temperament are excellent, and we are particularly pleased that we were able to sign the candidate that our search committee rated as the best applicant.”
Waldron came to the Sun office Tuesday to introduce Nadeau. On Tuesday, she also toured SAU 13 schools and also SAU 9.
SAU 13 sends middle and high school students to Kennett Middle and High School in SAU 9.
Nadeau said her first order of business will be to sit down and meet everyone.
Nadeau has a total eight years' experience as a school superintendent. She is presently serving as superintendent of the Newmarket School District. She served as superintendent of schools in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
"It can be challenging, but you have to like a good challenge," said Nadeau of being a superintendent.
The big challenge in Newmarket is a $40 million construction project for that district's junior-senior high school. Ground was broken last year.
Her professional experience also includes serving as Oyster River’s director of instruction, principal at the Mont Vernon Village School and assistant principal at Peterborough Elementary School. Nadeau started her career as a classroom instructor for seven years.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree from Bowdoin College and a master of education degree and certificate of advanced graduate studies from the University of New Hampshire.
She is currently enrolled in the doctor of education program at Boston University.
Nadeau says she'll have an hour's commute to Tamworth from Lee and has no immediate plans to relocate.
Waldron noted that Nadeau wasn't "a rookie" and knows where the lines of authority are for school boards, the superintendent and administrators.
"The fact that Meredith is experienced and understands these kinds of things and we aren't going to have to explore it together is great," said Waldron, who also praised Nadeau's composure.
"At the end of the day, the superintendent is the face of the district. And the superintendent has to be composed, cannot lose it in public and has to keep the lid on and has to keep everybody moving forward in a very cooperative manner," he said.
"I see that in Meredith, and we're going to challenge her on that and see exactly how well her composure holds up," Waldron added.
Asked about negotiations, Waldron said they went "very well." He said the reason why she wasn't hired sooner was just an issue of board scheduling.
"It wasn't a protracted negotiation," said Waldron. "It was just scheduling it with the board."
Nadeau will be paid $124,000 the first year and be given an undetermined raise in the second year of the contract.
Newmarket had one school board while SAU 13 has four, one for each town, and then a joint board.
"The days are long, no matter what," said Nadeau. "You figure out how to balance that with your life. It's not a 9 a.m.-5 p.m. job. It never has been."
Asked about her hobbies, Nadeau said she's looking forward to improving her skiing skills. She said her family likes to be outdoors and that her daughters enjoy golf, softball and basketball.
After leaving the Sun office, Nadeau and Waldron were off to Freedom and Madison. She had been to Tamworth's K.A. Brett School in the morning.
Kent Hemingway Jr. is currently the interim superintendent.
A longtime educator, Hemingway deferred his retirement by a year in July after former SAU 13 Superintendent Lou Goscinski left to become superintendent in a much larger district in York, Maine.
"We are very pleased with the job Kent did," Waldron said. "I know he's going to be a resource for Meredith going forward. We are so happy to have Meredith, and our job right now is to provide her with the community support so that she can do her job."