Thetford Academy names Dartmouth College graduate as next head of school

  • Carrie Brennan (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/5/2019 11:08:16 AM
Modified: 2/6/2019 7:36:45 PM

THETFORD — The co-founder and former principal of a charter school in Tucson, Ariz., has been tapped to lead Thetford Academy, just days before the independent school celebrates its bicentennial.

Carrie Brennan, executive director of the nonprofit CITY Center for Collaborative Learning in Tucson, will become head of school on July 1, according to a Thetford Academy news release on Tuesday.

Brennan, 52, said she was attracted to the post by Thetford’s positive school culture, contributions to the surrounding community and small size.

The school serves more than 300 students in grades 7-12, which allows teachers, students and administrators to make meaningful connections, she said.

“Schools the size of Thetford Academy can really do something on a human scale,” she said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

The head of school job will also allow Brennan to return to the Upper Valley. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1988 with a bachelor of arts in history and women’s studies before going on to teach for two years at Hanover High School.

Brennan then earned a master of education from the University of Arizona in 2001, while teaching high school in Tucson. She co-founded City High School in 2003, and served as principal until 2015.

She now leads the CITY Center, which oversees City High School and two other charter schools.

Brennan said she plans to bring a “facilitation leadership style” to the Thetford position, and wants to allow student voices to help shape the school’s future. She also hopes to build on partnerships between the school, Thetford and surrounding communities.

“All of the different stakeholder groups are really invested, and I’m good at bringing in those voices,” she said. “I’m excited to get to know folks and work with them.”

Brennan will succeed Bill Bugg, who has led the school for seven years and soon plans to move to the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he has accepted a job at an independent school on St. Croix. Bugg announced plans to depart Thetford last year.

“I think she’s outstanding,” Bugg said of his successor on Tuesday. “I think she brings a really strong background in public and charter school education with familiarity with the Upper Valley and a good history here as well.”

Bugg said he isn’t sure how much the school plans to pay Brennan. He made nearly $126,000 in 2016, according to the school’s more recent 990 tax filing.

Brennan was one of two finalists recommended by a 12-member committee, which began the search for a new head of school in August. The group read dozens of applications, essays and letters of recommendation while also reaching out to the Thetford community for input, said Giovanni Bosco, a school trustee who led the search.

“We really tried our best to get as much community input as possible in this decision,” he said on Tuesday. “I’m really, really pleased that Carrie will be our next head of school because she is the product of all those voices that we heard.”

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vne or 603-727-3223.

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