Sousa Replacement Handpicked

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Hampton Union, Friday, April 21, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON — The Hampton School Board had already appointed a new principal for the 2009-10 school year at Hampton Academy before receiving the resignation of current principal Chris Sousa.

Sousa handed in his resignation at the board's April 14 meeting stating he was "compelled to seek out new challenges," and that he had done what he could "to progress the education of Hampton students."

At the same meeting the board announced that Marston Principal Dave O'Connor would be the new principal at the Academy.

It now appears, according to non-public minutes that were unsealed on April 15, that even if Sousa didn't resign, he would not have been asked back as principal next year. According to the board's minutes, the decision to appoint O'Connor to the position occurred at a non-public meeting on March 30.

The meeting was called to discuss the renominations of the teaching staff for the following year, which, according to the teacher's contract, needed to be complete by April 15.

At the meeting, the realignment of administrative staff was the topic of discussion.

Hampton School Board Chairman Rusty Bridle would not comment on whether the reason Sousa resigned was because he wasn't going to be asked to returned.

"All I can say is Chris Sousa put his resignation in, and he did it with regrets to the board," Bridle said. "We wish him the very best."

Board member Norm Silberdick said he was aware of Sousa's resignation prior to the board meeting.

"I think he was looking at other opportunities for himself, and we wish him well," Silberdick said.

Silberdick said the board responded by naming a replacement.

Sousa said that, at this point, he doesn't have anything else to add other than what he wrote in resignation letter to the board. He did, however, say the restructuring was a part of his decision to resign.

The board voted on April 10, to restructure the schedule at the Academy.

"Restructuring was a part of my decision certainly," Sousa said.

Sousa was hired as principal in 2007 for his experience in implementing the middle-school philosophy.

"I have enjoyed my time here," Sousa said. "This is a phenomenal community with great students and I have worked with some excellent teachers while I have been here. I'm looking forward to new challenges."

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