HAMPSTEAD – A new principal for Hampstead Middle School was approved by the School Board, but it took another week for the contract to be negotiated.
On Tuesday, May 20, it was agreed that Maria DiNola will be paid $98,500 in the first year of her two-year contract. A mutual 180-day notice of termination is included, along with what the School Administrative Unit (SAU) termed a basic benefits package.
DiNola, presently Assistant Principal of Operations for Timberlane Regional High School, was announced as the new principal at the Tuesday, May 13 meeting, to take effect July 1. Current principal Patti Grassbaugh retires June 30.
According to the SAU office, “contract language” was the hold-up in reaching the contract.
DiNola was chosen from a pool of candidates that had been winnowed to three candidates – herself; Christie Michaud, principal of Golden Brook Elementary School in Windham, and Sean Pine, principal at Auburn Village School.
DiNola said she did not plan to be an administrator when she went to college, but hoped for a career in opera. Her parents persuaded her to change her career path to music education, and instead of a career singing, she has spent her life working with students.
Her educational career began in Manchester as a music teacher for 17 years and an administration intern. She taught at the elementary level for three years and at the middle school level for five years. In 2006, she became assistant principal at Timberlane Regional High School. Superintendent Earl Metzler and Assistant Superintendent Roxanne Wilson said DiNola can be congratulated for her role in Timberlane Regional High School’s recent recognition as 2014 New Hampshire High School of Excellence.
In her present job, she is responsible for communication and public relations, facilities, finance, food service, personnel, student attendance, transportation and staff evaluations.
School Board chair Greg Hoppa said. “The Board expects her leadership experience and her commitment to education will both complement and produce even greater successes at the Hampstead Middle School as well as the District as a whole.”
“The community is beautiful, bucolic and very committed to education,” DiNola said. “I am dedicated to working with the community as well as the staff and the students as we move ahead on a positive pathway for excellent, quality student learning.”
She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with an Education Specialist in Educational Administration and Supervision degree, from Boston University with a Master of Music degree and from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor of Music degree.
The SAU and School Board must now decide whether to appoint an interim assistant principal from the in-house candidates solicited or conduct a full-scale search for a new assistant principal. Metzler has said he favors an interim assistant principal from within the district for this year in order to provide stability and consistency. The Hampstead School Board has not discussed the matter in open session and no action has been publicly initiated.