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"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."

George Washington Carver

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2023 outstanding service award winner

CONCORD — The New Hampshire School Administrators Association announces that Kearsarge Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Michael Bessette is the recipient of NHSAA's 2023 Outstanding Service Award.

Bessette has served as Assistant Superintendent for seven years. Prior to his arrival at Kearsarge, he had a distinguished career as a school administrator and principal in the Hopkinton, Timberlane, and Derry School Districts. 

The award is given to an outstanding New Hampshire school system leader who is not a Superintendent of Schools. The recognized individual is someone who works to improve district educational programs and/or services, contributes to workplace climate and high morale, anticipates emerging problems and acts to resolve them, and demonstrates professional growth and involvement.

"I am honored to have served the students of New Hampshire's public schools. New Hampshire's public schools offer students the critical skills, content, and competencies necessary to prepare them for college and career readiness. There is nothing more professionally rewarding for me personally than to assist students seeking to achieve their educational goals," said Bessette. "In doing so, I have been truly honored to work in support of so many exceptional teachers, administrators, support staff, and communities who share that same belief."  

Bessette was nominated for this honor by a panel of his peers and selected from a distinguished group of nominees. Among Bessette's recommendations for the award was Superintendent of Kearsarge Regional School District Winfried Feneberg.

"Michael's contributions to the Kearsarge Regional School District have been numerous, significant, and impactful," said Superintendent Feneberg. "While the list of Michael's accolades could expand much beyond the available space, this nomination truly is about his dedication to student welfare and learning, educational quality in the district and the state at large, commitment to public service, and the deep joy and satisfaction he experiences when his contributions support the common good. Michael is an outstanding public educator."

School Board Chair Ken Bartholomew and Simonds School Principal Tim Stokes also recommended Bessette for the award, noting his deep commitment to and passion for public education, his unparalleled leadership abilities, and his supportive nature toward both students and staff.

"Michael has demonstrated true leadership, grounded in evidence-based research, that has allowed him to gain the trust and respect of the Superintendent, Winfried Feneberg, and the entire school board and district leadership team," said Bartholomew. "Michael's professionalism and level of dedication to our students' educational, social, and emotional experiences stand out. I believe Michael's work has been exemplary."

"I have known Michael for the past 20 years in multiple roles, including my building principal, assistant superintendent, and above all, colleague and friend. During that time, Michael has proven himself time and again as a champion of public education and a leader focused on student learning and achievement," Stokes said. "As a building leader, I strive to live up to the example that he has created these past 20 years."

Jerry Frew, Associate Executive Director of The New Hampshire School Administrators Association, stated that “Michael is an outstanding example of the dedicated and hard-working system leaders throughout New Hampshire who work tirelessly on behalf of students, families, and staff. The communities of SAU #65, and our profession, are both fortunate to be the beneficiaries of Michael's talents and commitment to public education."

nhsaa new executive director announced
Mark MacLean

Dr. MacLean, Superintendent of Schools for the Merrimack Valley and Andover School Districts (SAU 46), will assume the role on July 1 pending successful contract negotiations. He will succeed Dr. Carl Ladd, who will retire on June 30.

The Executive Director reports directly to the NHSAA President and is responsible for professional leadership and day-to-day management of the Association. The Director is charged with the further development of NHSAA and will provide leadership for strategy, organizational development, implementation, financial oversight, and revenue generation.

Following Dr. Ladd’s intention to retire, the Executive Board committed to a comprehensive process to identify and vet all viable candidates. The Executive Board opened a nationwide search last fall.

Applicants were reviewed by a Search/Interview Committee comprised of the four Executive Board officers and a representative of each of NHSAA's five regions. The Committee solicited feedback from educators across the state about the qualities and vision they would like to see in the next Executive Director, which informed questions to be asked during interviews.

The Committee invited three candidates, all current New Hampshire superintendents, for interviews. Following deliberations, the Committee unanimously forwarded Dr. MacLean to the full Executive Board. 

The Executive Board accepted the Committee's recommendation in a unanimous vote on Friday, Feb. 3.
“Screening Committee members placed great value in a strong track record of innovation and a passionate advocacy for students and their families, and someone who has been active in educational issues on the local, state, and national levels,” President Holden said.

“We were extremely fortunate to have three strong final candidates. Dr. MacLean’s thoughtfulness, solutions-based approach, and positive outlook make him the right person to lead our organization into the future,” President Holden said.

Dr. MacLean has served as superintendent of SAU 46, serving the towns of Andover, Boscawen, Loudon, Penacook, Salisbury, and Webster, since 2014. He was honored as NHSAA’s New Hampshire Superintendent of the Year in 2020. 

Dr. MacLean began his career in education as a Business and Computer Education teacher at Newport Middle High School in Newport in 1994. He also worked as a Dean of Academics at Alvirne High School in Hudson, and Assistant Superintendent in the Kearsarge Regional School District in New London before arriving at SAU 46.

He has served on the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) from 2016 to 2022, and has chaired the NHSAA's Executive Board Legislative Committee since 2018.

Dr. MacLean has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration  from the University of New Hampshire; a Master of Science in Business Education from New Hampshire College (now Southern New Hampshire University); and both a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies and a doctorate in Learning, Leadership and Community from Plymouth State University.

“It is humbling to be selected to lead NHSAA. I thank the NHSAA and the Executive Board for their vote and their confidence in me,” Dr. MacLean said. “I promise to thoughtfully and diligently represent the Association, systems leaders across the state, and the 167,000 students on whose behalf we work.”

President Holden and the NHSAA wish to recognize and thank members of the Search/Interview Committee for their diligence and commitment: President-Elect Dr. Esther Asbell, SAU 16; Vice President Dr. Ronna HasBrouck, SAU 58; Dr. James Morse, Past President, SAU 5; North County representative Kevin Richard, SAU 9; South East representative Suzanne Fillipone, SAU 5; South West representative Amanda Isabelle, SAU 62; South Central representative Michael Fournier, SAU 25; and Lakes Region representative Kathleen Murphy, SAU 8.

Welcome to NHSAA, Mark!

2023 superintendent of the year 


Dr. Carl M. Ladd, Executive Director

New Hampshire School Administrators Association

46 Donovan Street, Suite 3 Concord, NH 03301

Office Phone: (603) 225-3230 Office Fax: (603) 225-3225

Cell: (603) 374-3531 Email:




The New Hampshire School Administrators Association, in coordination with the American Association of School Administrators, has announced that Mr. Reuben Duncan is the New Hampshire Superintendent of the Year for 2023. Mr. Duncan, Superintendent of Schools for the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District (SAU #47) will receive a special award during the AASA National Conference on Education in San Antonio, TX, in February 2023.


            Reuben was selected for this honor by a panel of his peers and from a distinguished group of nominees. David Dustin, Jaffrey-Rindge Middle/Conant High School principal, said, “I think it's easiest to say that anyone who has had the honor of working with Reuben, whether a parent, community member, learner, parent, or staff member, walks away with a new connection and support, a powerful vision for learning, and relentless drive to meet the needs of every learner.” 


            Patricia Layfield, SAU #47 Student Services Director, remarked, “In the years that I have worked with Reuben, I have witnessed extraordinary vision, leadership, compassion and district growth due to his leadership skills…He is known by name across the district by not only staff but also by students…he subs in the buildings, he interacts with learners regularly, he knows them by name and knows about them.”


            Reuben’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from Cedarville University; a Master of Education from the University of New Hampshire, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) from Plymouth State University. He is currently enrolled in the Doctoral Program at Southern New Hampshire University focusing on Educational Leadership. Reuben started his administrative career as the Assistant Principal at the Hillsboro-Deering Middle School, became Principal of the Marlborough School, and then Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Towns for SAU #29. Reuben became Superintendent of Schools in SAU #47 in 2015, where he remains today.


            Reuben currently serves as a long-standing member of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association and has previously served as a member and officer of several nonprofit organizations, including the New Hampshire Dance Institute and Keene Housing Kids Collaborative.


            Reuben attributes his success to his outstanding staff and administrative team. Reuben’s spouse, Sheryl, three children, Trevor, Christopher and Patrick, and his grandson Jaxston create his supportive family network. Reuben’s passion for innovation, creativity, and strong focus on children provides a mindset for continual growth, not only for himself but for his staff and students.  


Dr. Carl Ladd, executive director of the New Hampshire School Administrators Association, stated, “Reuben is an outstanding representative of the many school superintendents in our state who work everyday in support of public education. He is an innovative leader, a strong and vigorous advocate for students and their families, and is a true Champion for Children.”

upcoming events
summer 2023

2023 Annual Conference on Educational Leadership & 82nd Business Meeting (open to current NHSAA members as well as Diamond & Platinum Partners only)

June 28 - 30, 2023

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa

Fall 2023

2023 Best Practices Conference on

School Operations, Finance &

Business Leadership

September 26 & 27, 2023

Grappone Conference Center 

Concord, NH

2023 Best Practices Conference on

Social-Emotional Learning

October 24 & 25, 2023

Grappone Conference Center 

Concord, NH

2023 Bradley F. Kidder Law Conference

October 4, 2023

Grappone Conference Center 

Concord, NH


Event TBD

November 14, 2023

Grappone Conference Center 

Concord, NH

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2023 Christa McAuliffe Transforming, Teaching, & Technology Conference

November 27 - 39, 2023

DoubleTree by Hilton, Downtown Manchester, NH & Zoom

winter / spring 2024

2024 Legislative Priorities (Part 1)

Monday January 29, 2024

Primex Building - 46 Donovan St.

Concord, NH

*this event is open to current NHSAA members & invitees only

2024 Best Practices Conference on 

Personnel Leadership

Monday March 11, 2024

Grappone Conference Center

Concord, NH

2024 Legislative Priorities (Part 2)

Monday March 25, 2024

Primex Building - 46 Donovan St.

Concord, NH

*this event is open to current NHSAA members & invitees only

2024 Innovations in Learning Conference

April 9 & 10, 2024

Grappone Conference Center

Concord, NH

Ed Jobs

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