Leadership Londonderry Returns After Several Years

After not running for several years, the Leadership Londonderry program is now accepting applications its town and school government informational training program, which will run from October of 2018 to May of 2019.

The program, designed to educate, inform, develop and motivate citizens for leadership roles in the community and beyond, will educate participants about the operations, fiscal management, and issues of local government.

Pollyann Winslow, who founded the program with Mark Oswald back in 2003 and continues to direct it, explained that they did so in order to create an opportunity for those within the community to understand how the town and school governments work.

“There are really many qualified people with a willingness to serve on a committee or run for office, but they’re just not sure how to get started,” Winslow said.

Any resident of Londonderry is invited to apply, and a committee of former Leadership Londonderry participants will select those they feel are qualified to participate in this year’s program. Individuals with community ideals, experience, and qualities that show leadership potential are the ideal candidates.

Winslow explained that ideal candidates would also be empty-nesters, parents of children in the Londonderry school system, longtime residents, and people who have recently moved into the community.

Twenty individuals will be chosen for this year’s cohort as the curriculum is fast-tracked for an in-depth orientation regarding all local government functions as well as an opportunity for interaction with current community leaders such as the Superintendent of Schools, the library director, and more.

“It’s nice for participants to be able to dialogue with these different leaders and find out what they do,” Winslow explained.

Several of the topics that will be discussed in the curriculum include an overview of town and school government, public safety: police and fire, planning and economic development, finances and budgetary process, environmental state: conservation/health and code enforcement, Londonderry School District, quality of life: library, parks, trailways and recreation, cable, senior affairs, and the Heritage Commission, master plan review, and finally, the Manchester Airport and I-93 expansion.

“These are places that potential participants may end up,” Winslow said. “They’re not planning to become the next Director of Economic Development, but they might want to work on the Planning Board.”

A typical class will run on the second Thursday night of each month from 4:30 – 8 p.m. To start, the class would be given a tour of a community facility, followed by a presentation by town/school officials such as including Town Council, School Board, department heads, and/or town committee members. Then, the group would break for dinner, and finally, a discussion of operations and issues would be had.

Winslow added that while participants may not go forward to serve on a board, commission, or committee, they will finish the program with the ability to attend town meetings and share their thoughts with the people who do serve on them.

“You’ll be able to go in a little more informed,” she said. “You won’t feel so intimidated, and you can say, ‘I understand this, and I’d like to question this.’”

As a joint venture between the town, the Londonderry School District, businesses, and private organizations, Leadership Londonderry is sponsored by all of its partners. Each participant will pay a minor fee of $25, simply to cover the cost of meals at each meeting.

Applications may be found online at www.londonderrynh.org, and should be submitted by Tuesday, July 31. For more information, contact Pollyann Winslow at (603) 421-0635 or Lisa Drabik at ldrabik@londonderrynh.org.

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