As a superintendent new to SAU 70, I offer this report as a record of my initial impressions. First, it is obvious to me that education is highly valued by the Hanover and Norwich communities; the level of support that you provide for our schools is a gesture of public trust and a laudable commitment to the common good that should not be taken for granted. I am pleased to report that from the remarkable dedication of the teachers in our classrooms to the painstaking attention to detail of the professionals in our business office, I am confident that the community’s trust is well placed.
The budget information detailing our districts’ disposition of funds, which constitutes the bulk of this report, provides only a partial account of the educational resources you provide for our students. Close review of our proposed budgets will show that like most public school systems, we commit most of our funding to the salaries and benefits of our educators. What the numbers in all of those tables and charts do not show is the exceptional talent and dedication of our teachers, administrators and all of the support staff who work together to provide an outstanding public education for our community’s children. I have never worked with a group of educators who spend so much time and effort to continuously improve their craft.
Beyond the classroom, the Hanover and Dresden School Districts serve as vital centers of community engagement, bringing people together for athletic events, arts, music, town-hall meetings with legislators, recreation programs, and ultimately, voting. I have been impressed since I arrived this summer at the way each of our schools’ individual communities interconnect and reinforce one another. From my perspective, the Dresden School District’s unique identity as the nation’s first interstate school district has created as strong a connection between Hanover and Norwich as the Ledyard Bridge. Any relationship that has lasted more than 50 years is a testament to hard work, collaboration, and adaptability. With the stress and strain on public education in recent years, from constrained state budgets to ideological reform efforts, our long partnership has helped us to preserve what has been regularly identified as one of the finest public school systems in the United States.
I consider it an honor to have been afforded the opportunity to work with you as superintendent of schools. As a new arrival to the Upper Valley, I know that I have a great deal to learn, but feel fortunate to join a community that places such a high priority on education. A newcomer’s perspective can be helpful in examining well -established ways of doing things. When I was hired, the Hanover and Dresden School Boards challenged me to take an already highly performing school system to new levels of success. Such a charge is more appropriately the work of a whole community, and I look forward to meeting that challenge together – reviewing practices and processes, questioning assumptions about success and achievement, rethinking approaches to finance and governance, and helping our children adapt to new pressures and demands. I have long believed that there is no more important work than the education of our youth and I am truly grateful to join you in that vital effort.
~Dr. Jay D. Badams, Superintendent of Schools