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Lebanon Fills School Business Position

Lebanon — A week after the departure of three key administrators, the Lebanon School Board began filling holes in the district’s leadership team.

At its meeting Tuesday, the board approved the hiring of Tim Ball, currently business administrator in Claremont, to replace outgoing nine-year veteran employee Jim Fenn, slated to leave on Aug. 1 for an undisclosed position in the private sector.

Fenn informed the board of his intent to leave in early June.

Ball represents “one piece” of the school district’s new leadership team, said School Board Chairman Jeff Peavey in a phone interview Wednesday morning.

Searches are ongoing to replace the now departed Superintendent Gail Paludi, Lebanon High Principal Nan Parsons and Director of Technology Bill Waste, who all wrapped up their time with the school district on June 30.

Ball, who is slated to begin work in Lebanon on July 21, has spent two years as business administrator in Claremont for SAU 6. Before that, he filled operations roles for private energy companies and the military.

Peavey described Ball as “young with experience within New Hampshire systems.”

For the first year of Ball’s time in Claremont, he was mentored by a licensed business administrator, said SAU 6 Superintendent Middleton McGoodwin. After that, he earned his state certification as a school business administrator, which Peavey said set him apart from other candidates.

“I’ve been pleased with what he’s done in the past two years,” said McGoodwin. “We had a very good working professional relationship.”

Ball, a Plainfield resident, said the appeal of the Lebanon position is that it “fits in better with my life.”

Since his young children eventually will attend Lebanon High School, he said he had thought it “might be cool to end up in Lebanon someday.”

In addition, the Lebanon district is governed by one school board, instead of the four in SAU 6. Ball anticipated the single-board district would mean fewer night meetings for him.

Ball said money was not a reason for his northern migration. While he will be earning slightly more in Lebanon, the discrepancy is minimal. In Claremont, Ball has earned a salary in the upper $80,000s, according to McGoodwin. In Lebanon, Ball will earn $90,000, said Peavey.

As with money, Ball said he was unconcerned about the number of transitions taking place in the Lebanon School District.

“It’s kind of the norm these days,” he said.

Peavey said he anticipated filling the interim superintendent position next week, while interviews have not yet been conducted for the principal position and the search for the director of technology is just getting started.

With Bell’s departure, SAU 6 will kick off a search for a permanent replacement, but McGoodwin said such a search could take months.

A small selection of candidates could make it difficult to find a permanent employee quickly, he said.

“There’s a horrifically thin pool of business finance professionals in public schools,” he said. “There’s not a lot of men or women out there looking for this position.”

In the meantime, SAU 6 will hire an interim business administrator to tackle day to day tasks, McGoodwin said.

He said he had already reached out to colleagues in the field and to Municipal Resources, Inc., a Meredith, N.H.-based consulting firm.

“Our goal is to find a talented person,” said McGoodwin. “We take hiring very seriously.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.