After being on medical leave for approximately six months, Superintendent of Derry Schools Laura Nelson has decided to step down and retire.
Acting Superintendent of Schools MaryAnn Connors-Krikorian was named Interim Superintendent at the School Board’s August 22 meeting. Connors-Krikorian’s new term will run from September 30 to June 30 of next year. The board will be looking to hire an interim assistant superintendent to support her in her new role. The posting has already been listed on the SAU’s website. There is no word yet on when the school board hopes to fill the position.
During the meeting, School Board Chairman Dan McKenna thanked Nelson, who served for five years as superintendent.
“As most people know, Laura Nelson, our superintendent, has been out on medical leave since March,” McKenna said, adding, “We were expecting she would return earlier this month, but she was unable to return this month and has decided she needs to retire and take care of some health issues.”
McKenna praised Nelson for leading the district through a number of projects such as the Long Range Planning Committee. He also credited her with starting the Facilities Committee and leading the group to the point where it is now ready for the final report. The Facilities Committee was created after the school district experienced a continued decline in enrollment over the past 10 years. Nelson helped lead the process to form the committee as board members seek solutions for the district and the community. Former Superintendent of Schools John Moody is overseeing the committee. In addition, Nelson helped lead the move of the Next Charter School to Gilbert H. Hood Middle School and a number of other projects such as the Blizzard Bags program, McKenna said.
Vice Chairman Brenda Willis echoed McKenna’s comments.
“I’ll just echo what you said, Dan, and obviously wish Laura well and hope she improves and gets back on track,” Willis said.
While Nelson was out on medical leave, school officials didn’t try to find a replacement for her since they were expecting she would return before the start of school, McKenna said.
Before a motion was made to nominate Connors-Krikorian as the interim superintendent, McKenna said he wanted to point out that administrators turned out in force to fill the room as a show of support for her.
“All of them being here is a sign that they respect you and are looking forward to working with you as interim superintendent,” he said.