Candidates for Manchester School Superintendent Make Their Pitch to the Public

May 16, 2019

The Manchester City School District held a Q&A forum with superintendent candidates in their search for new school leadership on Wednesday. Parents, teachers, principals, board members and students showed up to the event, which took place at Memorial High School.

The search has been whittled down to three candidates: the two interim co-superintendents Jennifer Gillis and Amy Allen, as well as John Goldhardt, an educator from Salt Lake City.

Audience members asked the candidates how they would address issues on special education policies, integrating refugee students, class sizes, teacher vacancies and more.

In Gillis’ opening remarks, she offered the option of two co-superintendents instead of one. Allen said she was open to the idea.

Credit Sara Ernst for NHPR

After each of the candidates spoke, audience members wrote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on colored flashcards, indicating whether the candidate was acceptable for the position.

Karyn O’Neil is a parent of a first grader in the district. She was a big supporter of the former superintendent, Bolgen Vargas, who unexpectedly resigned from the position.

“I’m looking for somebody who can take from the foundation that has been built under Dr. Vargas and move that forward,” said O’Neil. “I think we have a fantastic foundation. Some fantastic plans. And we need to continue that momentum.”

The board will meet Thursday night to interview all three candidates and choose to either make their final selection for superintendent or continue their search elsewhere.

“I believe the board will do one of three things,” said Board Member Richard Girard. “It will either hire a superintendent, hire co-superintendents or send the search back out. We will know [by then].”