Lamprey River Elementary School News

New Principal, Assistant Principal at Lamprey River Elementary School
By Penny Williams 7-22-15

The new school year features new administrators at Raymond's Lamprey River Elementary School (LRES). Principal Bryan Belanger and Assistant Principal Laura Yacek will be at the helm as classes begin.


LRES Assistant Principal Laura Yacek and Principal Bryan Belanger


Belanger comes to Raymond from SAU (School Administrative Unit) 21, which encompasses Hampton Falls, North Hampton, Seabrook, South Hampton and Winnacunnet. He previously served as interim principal at Seabrook Elementary School.

Yacek comes from SAU 16, which includes Brentwood, East Kingston, Exeter, Kensington, Newfields and Stratham. She was curriculum coordinator at Swasey Central School in Brentwood.

Belanger did his undergraduate work at Granite State College and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Literacy from the University of New England.

"This summer I am enrolled in the last course to finalize a second CAGS (also from UNE) in Inclusion Education," he said.

Yacek has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of North Florida.

"I hold both an educator and principal certification," she said.

Belanger comes to Lamprey River after 10 years as an administrator in SAU 21, working in both Hampton and Seabrook. “The past five years I spent working in the Seabrook School District,” he said. “Last year I started the year as Interim Principal of Seabrook Elementary School, which is where I fell in love with pre-k to 4, and the previous four years I was the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Integration at Seabrook Middle School. Prior to my work in Seabrook, I spent five years as the Systems Administrator for SAU 21 with a focus on technology integration, assessment and curriculum.”

Belanger is co-chair for the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Committee (ED’ies) and an adjunct instructor at Southern New Hampshire University.

Yacek was curriculum coordinator at Swasey Central for three years. “I was also responsible for administrative tasks when the building principal needed assistance or was not in the building, including being the acting principal while our building principal was on a medical leave,” she said. Prior to her curriculum post, she was an elementary school teacher for 14 years in both Florida and New Hampshire public schools.

Both Belanger and Yacek see Lamprey River as being a good size school. It is larger than the schools they are coming from but Belanger noted that the additional staff at Lamprey River allows for similar class sizes.

"Also, due to the size I am so fortunate to have a great administrative teammate in Laura," he said. "The building committee at LRES has been busy working on a great proposal to help us remedy our expanding/aging school facility."

"LRES has allowed the opportunity for me to take on the official role of assistant principal, whereas in other districts student enrollment is a lot lower so the Assistant Principal positions are not in place," she said. "I am so excited to be working with Bryan and I know that we make a great team."

Asked if there was anything specific they wished to accomplish this year Belanger replied, " As we establish our new administrative team at LRES, it is my goal to continue many of the traditions that already exist while also introducing my own flavor to the school culture and climate. I hope to support teachers in their efforts to provide the best possible learning opportunities for the students and to constantly challenge students and staff to build on the successes of prior years and focus on maintaining an environment of high academic and behavioral expectations. I also believe it will be so critical for us to help support the goals of our building committee in sharing the need to improve our school."

Yacek expressed satisfaction over how much she and Belanger have already accomplished and how well they are working together to prepare for the start of the school year.

" I am looking forward to building trust and positive relationships with students, staff, parents, and the community members,” she said. “I want be supportive to staff as we continue to set high expectations for our students and am looking forward to collaborating with not only the staff but also the community, as we all want what is best for the students."


Assistant Principal Laura Yacek and Principal Bryan Belanger


Asked what they found the most difficult challenge facing them as they start off as an entirely new administrative team, Belanger said, "Laura and I just click. Although we did not have prior experience working with each other, nor did we even know each other, I believe we have hit the ground running and our team is very well established. The school feels empty right now without kiddos and teachers. I believe it will be so critical for us to help support the goals of our building committee in sharing the need for a remedy to our school facility."

"We do click!” Yacek agreed. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of the principal search committee for Bryan, and I knew the moment I met him that he and I would make the perfect team! It has been a great start already. I believe our leadership philosophies complement one another and match well. In my previous curriculum coordinator position, the principal and I also started together as a new leadership team. It is exciting. We come in together sharing ideas and talking about positive past experiences that we would like to bring to LRES. It has been a great opportunity to start this administrative journey together."

The two agreed that what has impressed them about Lamprey River has been the members of the staff who have visited the school, aided in summer hiring and helped acclimate new hires. They specifically mentioned Facilities Director Todd Ledeux.

"It is clear that the staff in Raymond love our community," Belanger added.

They added that they are impressed with the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and its involvement in the school.

Belanger said he was drawn to Raymond by the age group of the students and the teaching staff.

"When I toured the school, I was searching for a position where I could dig in and grow roots and feel welcomed," he said." In my time at the school, LRES staff and students were so welcoming. I left thinking that I would be lucky to work in a school like this.”

Yacek said that living in Chester, she had heard great things about Lamprey River and knew it was where she wanted to be.  She said she was drawn by "the positive energy in the building and seeing the smiling faces, during my school visit, only confirmed my excitement for wanting to be the next assistant principal. I was able to meet a couple of families during the Raymond Town Fair. What a fantastic community!"

Belanger lives in Hampton with his wife, Kate, a third grade teacher; their 6-year-old son, Kane; and their 6-month-old daughter, Brynn.

Yacek lives in Chester and said that being so near to Raymond, her family spends a lot of time in town. She and her husband, David, have two children - a daughter, 8, and a son, 5.

"I am honored to be a part of the Raymond community and I look forward to an exciting year of positive growth in our school and increased community involvement," Belanger concluded.

Yacek added, "I am looking forward to an exciting year and building positive relationships with everyone in the school and local community."











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