By Chris Paul
A week and three days after Jenn Ganem, the Vice Chair of the Londonderry School Board resigned, the current Chairman of the board has resigned leaving just thee members to conduct meetings heading into the new school year.
School Board chair Michael Saucier announced last Friday that because of health concerns he will be stepping off the board.
According to a release sent out on Monday afternoon, Aug. 23, “On Friday afternoon, the School Board received word that Chairperson Michael Saucier had submitted his resignation from the Board, citing health concerns. The Board has accepted applicants for the other current vacancy created by the recent resignation of Vice Chairperson Jenn Ganem and has not at this point deliberated on a process or timeline for naming successors to these positions. The Board will consider both resignations in public session during their meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, August 24. The Board does retain the ability to continue to meet and carry out their duties with a 3/5 quorum.”
It was also stated that the board will be conducting a reorganization at the start of the meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 24, to select a temporary chairperson that will serve until the full board can choose a chair to serve until March of 2022.”
Saucier was just reelected during the March 2021 school elections and was expected to serve three years. Ganem’s term was set to expire in March of 2022.
Saucier was contacted by the Londonderry Times and asked to comment on his departure but did not respond to the request.
On his Facebook page he released the following statement. “As many are now aware, I recently stepped down as a member of the Londonderry School Board. I gave as much as I could for as long as I could but I needed to step away to refocus on my personal health and my family. With that said, I wanted to share my thoughts one final time.
Over 16 years ago my wife and I moved to Londonderry to start our family because of the reputation of the Londonderry Public Schools. With our girls now in eighth and eleventh grade, I know that it was the best decision we could have made for our family. My wife and I are both teachers each with 20 years of experience, so we have seen just about everything public education has to offer. The teachers, administrators, and staff of the Londonderry schools are second to none. The passion they have for their jobs and the love they have for the over 4,000 students in our schools is special to see. As a board member I had the privilege of working with many of them over these years and it was truly an honor to play even a small role in the exemplary work they are doing every single day.
Over the past year and a half we have all had to deal with the Covid pandemic. Everyone has had to make adjustments to their day to day lives, but schools are the only places in the country where hundreds of people are asked to be indoors in close spaces for six or more hours a day. It is impossible to explain the amount of extra hours that our teachers and school leaders work beyond their regular jobs to keep our schools running and our students safe during a pandemic. Their efforts have been nothing short of heroic and that should never be taken for granted.
In recent months emotions have risen in town and many have been divided over how to best proceed with school. I just want to remind everyone that the one thing that unites all of us – parents, students, teachers, administrators – is that we ALL want what is best for our children and the students of Londonderry. We may not necessarily agree on what is best at times, but I hope that as we move forward we can all remember that our goal is the same – to keep our kids in school, to provide a top education, and to keep our kids safe.”
The two resignations comes after a very turbulent year of dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic and how it effects students and staff at the school.
Parents and other residents have organized over the summer with many of them being very vocal about their opposition to having masks wearing as a mandatory requirement in schools and buses.
Because of that outcry, a Reopening Task Force was established to recommend how to proceed with the 2021-22 school year.