High School Principal Unexpectedly Resigns

March 31, 2017


Bob Dawson

Bob Dawson

by Barbara O’Brien

Windham High School Principal Bob Dawson has unexpectedly tendered his resignation from that position, effective June 30 of this year.

Dawson is the sixth principal to hold that job since the high school opened to students in September 2019.  Prior to being appointed as principal in the spring of 2015, Dawson served as assistant principal at the high school for four years prior to getting the nod as principal.

Although Dawson is choosing not to give details of why he’s chosen to resign from Windham High School, he did comment that this past year has been “the most stressful and difficult year of my life.”  Dawson also said he made the choice to resign after consulting with his family, religious leaders and other counsel.  The decision to leave the Windham School District came “after many sleepless nights,” he said, adding that it was totally his choice to leave the school district.

There was talk around town that Dawson had been put on administrative leave earlier this year, but those discussions were not confirmed by either Dawson or members of SAU 95 administration.  The “rumors” of why Dawson chose to resign circulated among residents about the same time Superintendent Richard Langlois informed the school board that numerous organizations (clubs) at Windham High School had been disbanded last fall without his prior knowledge.  Langlois took on the superintendent’s job this past July 1.

The first principal of Windham High School was Richard Manley, who served in that capacity for only one year, then stepped down to take on the job of social studies teacher.  Manley is no longer an employee of the Windham School District.  The second principal at Windham High School was Tom Murphy, who stayed on the job for three years, earning the title of New Hampshire High School Principal of the Year for 2012.  He, subsequently, resigned from Windham to return to his alma mater in Massachusetts.  Ryan Kaplan was the next in line to serve as principal, assuming the duties for about a year and a half.  Kaplan left the high school and took on administrative duties at the SAU for about six months.  Filling in at Windham High School during that interim time was Kori Becht, who currently holds the job of assistant superintendent for SAU 95.  It was after this brief time that Dawson was given the principal’s job, as of July 1, 2015.

Dawson said that it is his goal to continue his career in a school that shares many of the same goals and values as exist at Windham High School.  Dawson thanks the Windham community for its dedication to students and for providing such extraordinary opportunities for all levels of students.  He also expressed appreciation to the staff with which he has worked in Windham during the past six years.  “They are an amazing group of educators,” Dawson commented.  “I will always be a Jaguar.”

Former Superintendent Tina McCoy commended Dawson for his efforts and accomplishments at Windham High School.  “Bob Dawson has demonstrated genuine dedication to the students and staff members of Windham High School,” she said.  “He should be very proud of his accomplishments.  While I know he will be sorely missed, I wish him all the best going forward,” McCoy added.  McCoy said she did not know where Dawson would be headed next.

McCoy will be taking on the job of school superintendent in Raymond, N.H., at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.  After many years of service to the school district, in various capacities, she left Windham this past June 30.  McCoy is a Windham resident and has been for many years.

School board member Daniel Popovici-Muller, who served as chairman for the past year, said, “I am grateful for Bob’s service to the Windham School District and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”  Popovici-Muller said he was not aware of Dawson’s future plans.

School Board Chairman Rob Breton also spoke of his feelings after learning that Dawson was calling it quits.  “Mr. Dawson will be missed,” Breton said.  “I was very surprised and disappointed to hear that he chose to resign, but, as he has stated, his reasons are personal.”  “I respect that,” Breton said, “and wish him all the best in the next chapter of his life.”  As was echoed by other members of the school board, Breton said, “I am not aware of what his future plans are.”

“Bob’s resignation is a significant loss to our district and, specifically, the kids,” School Board Vice-Chairman Dennis Senibaldi said.  “Just spend an hour at the high school and you will see how much the kids love him.”

In correspondence from Dawson on March 26, four days after he resigned from the job of high school principal, he stated that he had not yet accepted a new position.  He said he would prefer to let his letters to the staff and parents speak for themselves.  “I know this will become public, but I prefer it to remain as private as possible,” he said.

As there are only three months until the new school year begins, on July 1, administrators will be fast-tracking the search for a new high school principal.  Once the search period has ended and interviews are conducted, the finalists will address residents in a public forum.  The current assistant principal at Windham High School is Matthew Malila, who took on that job July 1, 2015.