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Search Committee Recommends Sharon Principal for AD

Lebanon — The summerlong search for Lebanon High School’s next athletic director search may come to end on Wednesday night when SAU 88 School Superintendent Gail Paludi brings her selection to the Lebanon School Board.

Sharon Elementary School Principal Barrett Williams will be the choice, according to sources familiar with the search, but not authorized to discuss the decision. Williams was chosen over Lebanon High physics teacher Kieth Matte, the current boys basketball coach at the school. Matte also served as the summer school principal at Lebanon.

In all, there were four candidates interviewed for the job that opened up at the end of the school year when Kelley Carey resigned after six years to take the job as assistant principal at Plymouth Elementary School.

Lebanon Principal Nan Parsons, who led the nominating committee, would not say anything about specific candidates or the final selection when reached for comment on Friday, but did praise the two finalists who were sent to Paludi. “Both final candidates had extraordinary skills and talents that would benefit Lebanon High School,” Parsons said.

Messages for Paludi were not returned.

During the process, the search was reopened three times to accommodate the special qualification necessary for the position in Lebanon, where the athletic director — who is also in charge of all co-curricular activities — must have New Hampshire principal’s administrator certification.

“It did make it more challenging to find qualified candidates,” Parsons said. “There were only a handful of candidates with that certification. I kept hoping that more would apply.”

Parsons went on to say that not a lot of schools in New Hampshire have this as a requirement. At Lebanon, however, the AD must also supervise and evaluate classroom teachers.

“(Potential candidates) may have been experienced as athletic directors, but they did not have the proper certification as administrators,” Parsons said.

“It’s a very large job at Lebanon. … Being an administrator does not mean working just a 60-hour week. It’s not a complaint; it’s what we do. We do it because we love it.”

In addition to his administrative experience at Sharon, Williams brings coaching experience to the job. He served as Thetford Academy’s head boys basketball coach for three years, from the 2004-05 season through the 2006-07 season, accumulating a 45-25 record. The Panthers made the Vermont Principals Association Division III finals in Williams’ final two seasons, losing to Hazen in 2006 (58-55) and rival South Royalton in ‘07 (41-38). He also assisted former coach Dave McGinn on Thetford’s last state championship boys hoop effort in 2004.

Williams is a 1996 graduate of Oxbow Union High School, where he was a varsity athlete. He later attended Husson College in Maine and has worked as a teacher in Tunbridge and Chelsea. He has been the principal at Sharon Elementary since 2008.

Williams declined comment in an email to the Valley News on Friday night.

The new AD will oversee an athletic program that boasts 17 boys and girls varsity sports, most of them in NHIAA Division II, headed up by a veteran group of coaches. The Raiders are coming off a year when the field hockey and girls basketball teams won state championships and the girls lacrosse squad reached the state finals.

With fall practices set to start next week, it will be up to the school board to complete the selection process. “I have faith in our board,” said Parsons. “I trust they’ll do their best.”

Lebanon’s football practice begins on Wednesday, while the rest of the falls sports teams begin Aug. 19.

Staff writers Jared Pendak and Greg Fennell contributed to this story.

Don Mahler can be reached at dmahler@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.

CLARIFICATION

The search committee has submitted its choice for the Lebanon High athletic director to the School Board, which must vote to approve the hire. A headline on an earlier version of this story was unclear on that point.