Leaders change at SAU 56. Gadomski retires. Lane now superintendent
SOMERSWORTH – Robert “Bob” Gadomski was the head of School Administrative Unit 56 for three years as a superintendent, half of which was devoted to challenges related to the pandemic.
Gadomski retires on Thursday July 1 and hands over to former Deputy Superintendent Lori Lane, who has now taken up her new duties as Superintendent.
Gadomski looks back on time at SAU 56
Prior to joining SAU 56, Gadomski was Superintendent at SAU 44, Deputy Superintendent of SAU 9 and Principal in Belmont District SAU 80.
“I was on this career path right out of high school,” Gadomski recalls. “I was fortunate to have great educators when I was young and I just thought it was a very valuable career and something I needed to pursue.”
During his three years with SAU 56, Gadomski said the Districts of Somersworth and Rollinsford have fostered a collaborative and cooperative environment which has contributed to the success of both districts. He oversaw budget issues, overhaul of district infrastructure maintenance and one of the biggest challenges of his career: the switch to and abandonment of distance learning.
“The pandemic changed everything and was probably the most difficult time in anyone’s educational career,” Gadomski said. “When we got the call from the governor and commissioner on a Friday (in 2020), and that Monday morning, the schools had completely turned everything into e-learning. There have been a lot of constant adjustments every day since, but I think it just demonstrates the creativity and flexibility of everyone involved to make it work. “
Besides the pandemic, Gadomski said one of the most difficult challenges has been seeing appropriate funding for public education run out over the years, while making the most of what districts are receiving.
“Over the years that I look back on my career, I am amazed at the amount of quality education you see in public schools, despite the cards being held against us with a lack of funding for public education,” Gadomski said. “Public education has come under fire and we’ve been cutting budgets for decades now, but there’s no fat left in the budget to cut. It’s always been difficult.”
Gadomski said that in retirement he hopes to “slow things down” to spend more time with his family. Reflecting on the legacy he is leaving behind, he said he was proud of the progress made by the districts and assured that he was leaving SAU 56 in good hands.
“I have always been very proud and I think I leave better places than I found them,” said Gadomski. “I think I’ve added stability to the quarters I’ve been in and left each in a great place for the next person to enter.”
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Lori Lane & Dana Hilliard Step Into New Roles
This year marks Lane’s eighth place in the district and 34th overall in education. Lane came to Somersworth in 2014 as director of careers and the high school technical center and was promoted to director of curriculum, assessment and technology in July 2015.
She was appointed Deputy Superintendent in July 2017, serving as Acting Superintendent of Schools for the second half of the 2017-18 school year before the district hired Gadomski.
Lane recalled that when she was Acting Superintendent it was a “very tumultuous year” and Gadomski was the “right person at the right time to bring some calm and stability” to SAU 56, which was facing major budget and personnel issues.
“I’m really excited to start and take the district on its next chapter of its journey,” Lane said. “We are doing everything we can to build on the work we have already done.”
Lane said she looked forward to promoting more mental health and student engagement initiatives, upkeep and maintenance of facilities and a revamped summer school program, among other ideas.
“We have a lot of programs to support students, but I never felt like they always worked in concert with each other,” Lane said. “We are looking to streamline things in ways that best meet the needs of our students and their families.”
Lane expects the transition to be smooth, but she already anticipates the challenges ahead as new legislation makes its way to allocate budgets for the next fiscal year. To date, the district has yet to receive its ESSER II grant funds, which are CARES law funds intended to help districts cover the costs of repairing equipment and replacing necessary infrastructure improvements. and Lane says she fought to get the district the money owed to her.
“It’s been a long and winding road, but I’m hopeful,” Lane said. “We were very fortunate that city council passed a resolution earlier this year that allowed us to carry over our savings of approximately $ 419,000 in unspent funds, as we had a number of savings due to the pandemic. It’s a great foundation to build on. “
Since the role of Assistant Superintendent has been restructured, Dana Hilliard will assume the newly created role of School District Director of Operations, who will oversee a number of key areas for the district, including the development and implementation of academic programs and behavioral; supervise and support teachers and building administrators; develop and supervise a student support network; and community engagement, among others. Hilliard has already declared that there is no fear of conflict of interest between his role as mayor if re-elected this year and his seat as director of school district operations for SAU 56.
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He has been in the district for 22 years and in addition to being mayor of Somersworth, he was recently principal of Somersworth Middle School for 10 years, saying it was a tough job to leave.
“I’m excited, but at the same time, it’s one of those bittersweet moments where you know you’re closing a chapter,” Hilliard said of the transition. “I could not be more proud of what the college staff and community have accomplished over these 10 years – the program and infrastructure improvements that have led to many accolades. Now is the time to take it. this basis of what we’ve been doing here at Somersworth Middle School and bringing those efforts district-wide. “
Hilliard said the goal is to create a system that can scale to meet the needs of students from their first day of school in the district until the moment they cross the stage and graduate.
“We are looking for a more holistic approach, one that matches and links coherently to ensure that the academic, social and emotional social needs of each student are met,” said Hilliard. “It’s like we are passing the torch in a relay race. It should be transparent when a student steps up to the next grade or school, instead of a reset button. This is one of the main objectives that we seek to achieve. “