Londonderry School Board Chair Nancy Hendricks joked to Superintendent of Schools Nate Greenberg at the board’s meeting Oct. 18, “You know, if you don’t get a vote, you don’t get to go.”
By a decision that was officially “begrudgingly” approved by the School Board that night, Greenberg will be retiring on June 30 after serving as superintendent since 2000. His successor will be current Assistant Superintendent of Schools Scott Laliberte.
Laliberte will take over as superintendent on July 1.
The board expressed its confidence in Laliberte, with Vice Chair Leitha Reilly saying she is “very pleased to bring (Laliberte) on as assistant superintendent” and has “no doubt (he’ll) do well.”
Board member Jenn Ganem said she is looking forward to Laliberte’s digital learning plan currently in development (see story page 2).
“Scott and Nate share similar core beliefs, but Scott’s style is different enough as to sufficiently challenge our teachers and staff to continue to grow and succeed on behalf of our students,” said Hendricks.
The board also praised Greenberg for his efforts over the years, noting his focus on students and student activities as well as his dedication to the field of education.
Board member Steve Young said this year marks Greenberg’s 48th year as an educator, 30th as a superintendent and 17th in Londonderry.
Greenberg said in a later interview that his career has been in four states, including Arizona, where he was a superintendent for four years.
He started as a teacher in New York, where he taught fourth and sixth grades before beginning his first administrative an assistant principal. His first superintendent position was in Somersworth; he then went to Arizona before coming to Londonderry in 2000.
“I really have felt privileged and honored to work in this district for 17 years,” Greenberg said during the meeting. He thanked the school board “both past and present” as well as his past and present administrative team, faculty and staff.
Greenberg also expressed his thanks for the support from parents and the community over the years, as well as the students, calling them “outstanding young minds ready to take on the next step in their lives.
“They really do inspire us every day, and that’s why we’re here,” Greenberg said.
As for what Greenberg will be doing after retirement, he has several options in mind to keep himself busy, he said.
His wife has been anxious to travel, he said, and they have talked of visiting Scotland, where her family’s roots are. Having taught administrative graduate courses at the University of New Hampshire, Southern New Hampshire University and Rivier University, he may do some teaching and is interested in possibly doing volunteer work as well.
“It’s time to try and do something a little bit different and have some more free time,” Greenberg said.
Calling his retirement “bittersweet,” Greenberg added that he is “looking forward to continuing to work as hard as I can for the students.”
Of his successor, he said he has total confidence.
“Scott is going to be an outstanding superintendent,” Greenberg said. “Faculty and students are really going to enjoy working with him in continuing to make Londonderry an outstanding school district.
“Working closely with him each day, I have seen an unparalleled work ethic, a deliberate but decisive approach to challenges, and a cool head during crisis,” Greenberg added.
Laliberte is in his third year as Londonderry Assistant Superintendent, and though not having as many years in the field as Greenberg, has administrative experience as well, having served as the Curriculum Coordinator in Gilford, Principal at Moultonborough Central School and Assistant Principal at Gilford Elementary School.
Laliberte began his career as an English teacher and was later the Academic Coordinator for English/Language Arts at Kingswood Regional High School.
Laliberte serves on the New England Regional Council of the College Board as the New Hampshire representative, on the Southern New Hampshire University Academic Advisory Board, and on the SERESC (Southeastern Regional Education Service Center) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Advisory Board.
In an email interview, Laliberte expressed his eagerness to pick up where Greenberg will leave off.
“I’m most excited about working on ways to advance the work of what is already an outstanding school district,” he said.
“There are great opportunities here to make greater use of educational technology, a strong relationship with businesses within and around our town, and finding creative ways to extend the learning environment for both our students and in professional development for our staff,” he said.
Greenberg said that when Laliberte was hired in 2014, he told the board he would be retiring in three years, so they had looked for someone with the skills, ability and knowledge to take over for him. He said Laliberte was given opportunities as Assistant Superintendent to prove whether he could eventually handle being Superintendent.
It was as if Laliberte were given a 2-1/2 year interview, Greenberg said.
A 10-member committee that included one school board member was involved in the interview process. They reviewed the applicants, conducted interviews and went on site visits during a second round of interviews to see candidates on site in their current positions and talk in person to references and colleagues.
One finalist – Laliberte – was interviewed by the school board, and Greenberg said he “strongly supported his candidacy” and noted that promoting internally is something the board believes in.
Board members said Laliberte’s two-year tenure in Londonderry surpasses any formal “interview” for the position, and in a press release wrote that promotion from within saves taxpayer money and ensures a smooth transition.
A transition plan is in place, and a search will be conducted soon for a new assistant principal.