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Tina McCoy Takes the Helm at Raymond School District
By Leslie O’Donnell    7-24-17

“I hope this is the last job I ever have – and I’m not close to retirement!” new Raymond School District Superintendent Tina Hextell McCoy said recently.

“I have no desire to do any other job, and I hope to provide stability for the District,” she added. “I think there’s no better place for me to be, and I’m grateful to be here.”

McCoy began her official duties as superintendant at the Raymond School Administrative Unit (SAU) 33 office on July 1, and replaces Ellen Small, who retired June 30.

McCoy most recently was self-employed as a consultant, and served as interim superintendent in the Windham School District. Her background includes about 10 years as Director of Student Services for SAU 28, which at the time encompassed both Pelham and Windham. Earlier in her career she was Special Education director in Chester.

As a military wife, she taught Special Education in Louisiana, Hawaii and Illinois. “Teaching in different states gave me a varied perspective,” she said.

She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, her master’s degree in education from St. Louis University, and her doctorate in educational leadership and school administration from Boston College.

McCoy is married and has three adult sons. She lives in Windham, likes to ride her motorcycle, and has a “best buddy,” her bulldog, Beatrice.

 

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“I was drawn to Raymond,” she said of her new post. “I know that finding the right fit in a job is very important, and I like the community connections here. I think it’s a really good work environment. I want to build on the good things they’ve done here.”

Noting she has many contacts in education throughout the state, McCoy said several people told her the Raymond job would be a good fit for her. “I was impressed with what I saw here,” she said.

Since taking on her new job, McCoy has been busy meeting people and getting familiar with the District’s educational offerings. “We have recently adopted a strategic plan, and new for next year is more Kindergarten-Grade 12 collaboration,” she said. “We’re looking at how to make instruction more engaging for all levels, and how to get students actively involved in what they’re learning.

“We’ll be doing a lot of refining of the curriculum,” she explained. “The teachers have worked hard on refining competencies, and will be looking at reducing redundancies in the curriculum and filling in the gaps. We want every student to have the same quality and opportunities, regardless of who the teacher is.”

Technology is another area of focus for McCoy, particularly what kind of technological competencies students need to be successful in college or career.

Another major focus will be the budget, and McCoy is delighted that finance director Ron Brickett, who had announced his intention to retire this year, has agreed to stay on another year. “I’ll be learning so much from him this year,” she said.

“I’ll be working with my administrative team regarding planning priorities for the year,” she said.  “It’s a very busy time. People think the summer is a down time for schools, but there’s a lot to do to get ready for the school year. I think I have a great administrative team, and they’re doing wonderful things in their buildings.”

McCoy had praise for the school board as well, and said she expects it to be a “real pleasure” to work with. “They ask good and tough questions,” she said. “They look out for the quality of the school district while being mindful of the needs of the taxpayers.”

A proposed school bond to expand the Lamprey River Elementary School went down to defeat last March, and McCoy said the school board will be looking at what comes out of the newly formed Shared Resources Committee, which incorporates representatives of the school board and board of selectmen as members, before deciding on a next step.

She said Raymond offers a lot of opportunities for kids that are not available in other communities. “And not everyone knows about them,” she added.

McCoy noted that she has met with John McDaniels, who heads up Reach High Scholars, a nonprofit group that works with Raymond High School students – and middle schoolers – to provide opportunities and resources for parents and children to “reach higher” in their educational pursuits than they might have imagined possible.

She has also visited the Seacoast School of Technology in Exeter, the regional Career and Technical Education school for Raymond, Exeter, Epping, Winnacunnet, Newmarket and Sanborn Regional high schools.

“Their opportunities are truly amazing,” she said of Seacoast. “The programs are cutting edge, and students can choose to earn college credit while in high school. Programs range from early childhood development to auto mechanics, culinary arts to welding. ’Technology’ sounds narrow, but the school offers many diverse opportunities for kids.

“I’m really honored to have the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” McCoy said of her role as superintendent.  “It’s been really nice so far. I’m enjoying it immensely, and am really happy to be here.”