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Pelham~Windham News


Back to School see pages 12 & 13


Volume 8 Number 3 August 6, 2010 14 Pages


Center School Principal Resigns Suddenly; No Public Hearing Held


by Barbara O’Brien The situation among administrators in the


Windham School District is reminiscent of the children’s game Musical Chairs, where participants are trying to find a place to sit, without getting bumped off by their peers. Who will wind up where is difficult to predict. There is a new principal, Tom Murphy, and a new assistant principal, Tom Burke, at Windham High School, a facility that has only been operational since last August. The previous principal, Richard Manley, stepped down and accepted the job of one of the social studies teachers instead. Recently, however, there has been talk that Manley does not intend to stay at Windham High School at all, and is seeking employment completely outside the Windham School District.


Cherrie Fulton, the former assistant principal


at Windham Center School, was asked to take on the duties of principal of Windham’s Center School, starting with the 2010-2011 school year, replacing Andy Desrosiers, who said he intended to retire at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. Before she could assume those duties, however, Fulton was placed on administrative leave. Superintendent Frank Bass did not return phone calls to the Pelham~Windham News, asking for an explanation regarding Fulton’s status. A few days later, it was announced that Fulton


was seeking a public hearing on the reasons why she had been placed on administrative leave. Due to privacy stipulations, a public hearing on personnel matters must be at the request of the employee who is involved in the


action. A public hearing on the Fulton matter was set for July 13, but was later postponed. In the meantime, Fulton obtained legal counsel from Attorney James Bianco. On July 20, in what was billed as an “Alert


Now” message, one that was e-mailed to parents of Windham students and other interested parties, Superintendent Bass wrote: “I want to make you aware that it has become necessary for me to make some temporary administrative reassignments. Center School Principal Cherrie Fulton currently is on leave. While she is on leave, please be assured that the effective operation of our schools under sound leadership continues to be of paramount importance. To that end, I have assigned Mrs. Kori Becht to serve as Acting Principal at Center continued to page 7- Principal Resigns


Learning to Act During Summer by Lynne Ober Summer boredom does not set in if you


live in Pelham because there are many activities, including Pelham Theater’s Summer Acting Series, which provides an opportunity for Pelham children to learn skills through acting. Janet Daigle, long-time Pelham resident, is the mastermind behind this fun-filled summer experience. Participants have an opportunity two mornings a week for seven weeks to learn skills associated with acting. These skills help build life-long skills that can be used when interacting with people. The eighth week of this enchanting


program sees the participants working every day in preparation for their theatrical performance. This year, so many children wanted to participate that Daigle changed the production to The Little Mermaid because it had a much larger cast than many of the other plays that could be learned. Professional actors are quick to tell a beginning actor that the best way to become an actor is to improve your life skills—learning to listen carefully, respond respectfully, and focus on every nuance in your surroundings. Using exercises to help the young actors focus on skills, Daigle has enhanced this program each summer. Participants must think in order to act. They learn to expand their creativity through exercises and to think outside of the box as they learn to act. Students who are participating in this program, which is similar to many others across America, report that they learn ways to avoid peer pressure while remaining calm. Communication skills are sharpened as the acting exercises are mastered. Learning to bring listening skills into harmony with communication skills is one example of the life-long skills learned by actors of any age. As Daigle points out, learning to act is just


Town and


School Boards Vow to Work Together


by Barbara O’Brien Hoping to “open up meaningful dialogue and


to work cooperatively for the benefit of local taxpayers,” members of the Windham School Board and Board of Selectmen held a joint session in the auditorium of the new high school on July 26. “Why here? Why now?” Gallagher asked, replying that both the town and school district need to engage in collaboration. “We need more heads working together, in a spirit of cooperation,” he added. “After all, we all want what is best for Windham.” Selectmen’s chairman Charles McMahon agreed with Gallagher. “We need to put Windham first,” McMahon said. “All other issues must come second.” McMahon also commented on the importance of proposing ideas based on taxpayers’ ability to foot the bill. School Board chairman Bruce Anderson also concurred with McMahon and Gallagher. “We need to make Windham the best it can be by making the schools the best they can be,” Anderson said. Anderson referred to the over- crowding issues being faced in Windham schools and the negative impact this has on student learning. “Our goal must be to put together a long-term plan to benefit all students, regardless of each student’s personal educational goal,” he said. “And we have to figure out how to do that in an economically responsible way.” Gallagher added that “this is a conversation about priorities.”


continued to page 7- Town and School Board


Pelham School Board Wants Committee to Study Tuitioning Students


Te cast and director ofTe Little Mermaid have been spending the summer learning how to think creatively and work as a team


another step in the process of learning to work with others and to participant in a team activity. The Little Mermaid is based on an 1837 fairy tale published by Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. In 1989, Disney made an animated musical movie based on the fairy tale, and from there, the musical script has been adapted for Broadway. On August 20 and 21, it will be live on the stage in Sherburne Hall. Theater runs in the Daigle’s blood and


Janet’s daughter, Torie, is the stage manager. Torie will attend Pelham High School in the fall. The director is Janelle Gordon, who will soon be off to college. Claudia Combs has


devoted her skills to working with the chorus, who will provide the musical songs during the production. April Reidy, who will enter 7th grade this fall, has the part of the “Little Mermaid,” and everyone involved in the production praises her beautiful singing voice. While the production is the end of the summer camp, these participants will carry their new thinking skills and their ability to expand their creativity into their school year. They will also have developed personal and social skills, which will result in increased poise and confidence. Summer acting camp will provide skills for the future. Come enjoy the show.


Historical Society Building Being Restored


submitted by William Hayes A comprehensive exterior restoration


of the Pelham Historical Society Building is currently underway. This is the first comprehensive exterior restoration undertaken since the building was completed in 1896. Interior restoration of the first floor was completed last year. The Historical Society Building, originally


known as the Pelham Public Library and Memorial Building, was designed by the famed award-winning MIT architect Frederick W. Stickney, of the Pelham Stickneys, to serve both as a library and memorial to all Pelham veterans who served in the last French and Indian War 1754- 1763, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Later, plaques were added for World War I and World War II veterans, filling all of the available wall space. The plaques were carved in marble and inlaid with gold paint.


courtesy photo


Restoration specialist John Killam of Westford, MA, one of a number of restoration specialists working on the restoration of the Pelham Historical Society Building


Last fall, all roof flashing and all broken and missing slate roofing tiles were replaced. Additional work will involve the removal of all of the pitted, triple- track, aluminum-colored storm windows


and the installation of anodized white aluminum, single-pane glass, top-hinged, bottom-opening storm windows that will be virtually invisible to the eye, except when in the open position. The new storm windows will meet all historic preservation standards. Window trim, window sash, roof dormers, the frieze, and all other exterior painted areas will be stripped back to the original material. Cracks, dents, and rot will be repaired. New primer and paint will be applied. The exterior air conditioners will be removed and the heating oil filler and vent pipes will be removed from the highly visible left side of the building to the backside of the building. The rotted basement windows will be replaced with a non-rotting composite material, and will be virtually indistinguishable from the original 1896 windows. The exterior alarm horns and strobe lights will be less visible when inactive, but louder and more visible when activated. The entire alarm system will be upgraded. Upon completion of the work, the


continued to page 7- Building Being Restored


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by Barbara O’Brien Members of the Pelham School Board want to


study the feasibility and practicality of sending Pelham students to Windham High School. A letter to that effect was sent to the Windham


School Board and made public during a meeting on July 26. Earlier, this past spring, Windham board members had written a letter to the Pelham School Board stating that they would like to work cooperatively with the other town in SAU #28, in hopes of saving money for both school districts. Windham School Board Vice Chairman Ed Gallagher primarily authored that letter. In response to Windham’s call for cooperative cost sharing, Pelham said they would like to see the establishment of a committee to study the possibility of Pelham high school students attending the new facility in Windham. Windham High School is getting set for its second year of operation. Pelham board members said they are “looking forward to more collaboration with the Windham School District.” Pelham is currently dealing with issues


involving its own high school. For the past two years, voters turned down the construction of a new high school in that town. Windham School Board Chairman Bruce Anderson said he is “definitely interested in talking about” forming a study committee and laying out the parameters of such an undertaking, as well as the makeup of a joint committee. Pelham board members had suggested, in the correspondence to Windham, that an equal number of members from Windham and Pelham should constitute committee representatives. The committee would, likely, include board members, as well as members from the community at large. When asked how much space is available at


Windham High School for students to be tuitioned from Pelham, Anderson said that was an issue that needs to be looked into. Windham would not be interested in accepting Pelham students for only a year or two, Anderson said, adding that to do so would not be fair to the students who might be involved. Last year, Windham High included only freshmen and sophomores. For the new school year, which gets underway on September 1, freshmen, sophomores, and juniors will be in attendance. Seniors will continue to attend classes at Salem High School under a tuition agreement. Windham School Board members also said


they would need to take into consideration having Pelham share in the cost of building Windham High School. Windham High School carries with it a 20-year construction bond. Dr. Anderson said that the issue would be put on the agenda for a future School Board workshop. Even if recommended by a study committee, tuitioning Pelham students to Windham High School “would have to pass muster in both towns, Anderson said.


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