McGowan Named New Principal at WHS

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New WHS Principal Groomed For Job

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, December 18, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Vice Principal William McGowan was named to replace outgoing Principal Randy Zito by the Winnacunnet School Board this week.
[Courtesy photo by Deb Cram]

HAMPTON -- There will be a familiar face stepping into the principal position at Winnacunnet High School once Randy Zito retires at the end of the school year.

The Winnacunnet School Board unanimously voted Monday, Dec. 14, to appoint Vice Principal William McGowan as the high school's next principal. Assistant Principal Peter Weaver was offered the vice principal position, but a contract is still being negotiated.

"I think they are going to be a powerhouse team," said board Chairwoman Maria Brown. "It was a unanimous vote, and I think they will do great things at Winnacunnet."

McGowan has served as the school's vice principal since 2004. Prior to coming to Winnacunnet he worked in the math department in the Lowell (Mass.) School District.

"I'm very excited," McGowan said. "This is a position that I always wanted. It's been a goal of mine to one day be principal of a building."

McGowan said he was interviewed for the position during a non-public session Monday prior to the board's regularly scheduled meeting. The board made the final decision to appoint him after a second non-public meeting later that night.

"I wasn't expecting it to happen so quickly," McGowan said.

School Board member Denyse Richter said McGowan and Weaver were highly recommended by Zito and SAU 21 Superintendent James Gaylord.

Zito admitted to heavily lobbying for McGowan to be the school's next principal.

"It shouldn't come as a surprise to any of the staff or the community," Zito said. "I have been working closely with Bill, and he has stepped in when I've been away and has done a great job."

Zito said McGowan was closely involved in developing the curriculum at the school and was instrumental in coming up with plan to get the high school off the School In Need of Improvement (SINI) list. A school gets on the list after students fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) based on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test for two consecutive years.

"He was instrumental in writing the improvement plan, and obviously he did good job because we are no longer a school in need of improvement," Zito said.

Zito said he was glad the board hired from within rather than conducting an outside search.

He said it sends a good message.

"It's been my intent when I arrived here, to mentor the younger administrators and give them the experience so they could one day compete for this job," Zito said.

He said hiring from within also makes for a smooth transition.

"This give us continuity and prevents us from falling behind," Zito said. "These two know the school and are ready to step up, and I know they will prove to be valuable leaders for years to come."

Brown said there was no need to conduct a search because McGowan she believes will shine in his new role as principal.

"We have the best of the best in-house and there was no need to conduct a long search," the board chairwoman said. "He's been the vice principal for five years and has been groomed to one day be our next principal."

Zito, who has been the school's principal since 2005, announced in November he was retiring at the end of the school year.

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