New Principal for PHS

May 6, 2016


by Kaela Law

In a very selective process, a new Principal has been chosen for Pelham High School.

Natasha Kolehmainen, Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment, was on the screening committee to select the new principal.

“Of 22 applicants, we interviewed seven candidates and narrowed it down to three,” Kolehmainen explained.  “A team went and did site visits at the three schools two weeks ago.  On April 20, a group of diverse, well-represented students and district staff interviewed the candidates.  An open house was held after school hours the same evening where community members could meet and interview the candidates.  Everyone filled out feedback sheets that the screening committee took to the school board before the final interview of the candidates conducted by the superintendent, Amanda Lecaroz, and school board itself.”

In a statement issued by the school board, they announced, “We are thrilled to announce that Gary Dempsey will be the new Principal of Pelham High School beginning July 1, 2016.  After a thorough-and-multi-faceted approach that involved students, teachers, parents and community members, the School Board voted unanimously to offer the position to Mr. Dempsey.

“Mr. Dempsey comes to Pelham with 16 years of administrative experience at the high school level, most recently eight years at Bedford (N.H.) High School, as well as several years of classroom teaching experience.  We had several qualified candidates apply for the position and three finalists were interviewed by the School Board, but Mr. Dempsey rose to the top as a result of his relatability, experience, and high expectations for all students.”

“Getting to know the kids is the most important thing,” explained Dempsey to a group of parents during the open house.  “I’m all about helping kids and student outcomes.  Their goals now become my goals.  I want to help students excel.  I want to know what the students’ individual goals are and how I can support them.”

It is important to Dempsey that students follow him because of who he is, and not just because he is the principal.  Taking a lead-by-example approach, Dempsey is currently the Administrator for Art and Music at Bedford High School.  Additionally, he coaches Lacrosse at Rivier College.

“We are extremely excited for the future and looking forward to seein how Mr. Dempsey is going to inspire success for all our students, staff and community,” said school board member Debbie Ryan.