Throughout her career in education, Cindy Gallagher has been a college professor and administrator, an assistant principal and a superintendent. She picked up a law degree along the way, too.
Starting July 1, she’ll have a new title to add to that list: principal of Keene High School.
N.H. School Administrative Unit 29 announced her hiring in a news release Friday afternoon.
“I’m excited to welcome Dr. Gallagher to the Keene School District and SAU 29,” Superintendent Robert Malay said in the release. “With her wealth of experience, I am confident that she will be a valuable asset to Keene High School, the staff, families and most importantly the students.”
Of the 27 applicants for the position, Gallagher was the only one who advanced to the public portion of the interview process earlier this week. She met virtually with Keene High staff and SAU 29 administrators Monday.
Gallagher, who previously served as superintendent of the Newport School District and currently works as the director of the school of education at Franklin Pierce University, said she is honored to join the Keene School District.
“This is a perfect transition time,” she said in the release. “Education is going to look very different as we prepare to return from this pandemic event. I’m excited to be a part of leading this transition forward. I’m eager to be with the students and staff. That is the heart of the job for me.”
Current Keene High School Principal Jim Logan announced in mid-February that he will step down at the end of the academic year.
Logan, a former director of the Cheshire Career Center, has been at Keene High for 14 years. He took over as interim principal during the 2014-15 school year, and assumed the role permanently the following school year.
After Logan announced his retirement, a 10-person search committee consisting of teachers, school officials, parents and a student screened 10 applicants by phone and interviewed six of them beginning in early April.
After Gallagher’s presentation to school officials Monday, and a two-day period of public feedback, the search committee was set to reconvene Thursday afternoon to discuss whether or not it would recommend Gallagher to Malay. By statute, only the superintendent can nominate a candidate for a school position.
In the news release Friday, Malay thanked the search committee “for all their hard work in finding such a high quality candidate during the difficult circumstances caused by the global pandemic.”
Gallagher holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., and a master’s and doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She also earned her law degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2001.
Before entering public education, Gallagher worked for seven years in a variety of roles at New England College in Henniker, including as an assistant professor. She started at the Newport School District in 2007 and served as superintendent from January 2015 until last June. Gallagher began her role at Franklin Pierce University last August.
About 1,400 students attend Keene High, from Keene, Chesterfield, Harrisville, Marlborough, Marlow, Nelson, Stoddard, Sullivan, Surry, Westmoreland and Winchester, according to the school’s website.
Gallagher will be the school’s fourth leader within the past decade. Lynda C. “Lynne” Wagner held the post for two years before Logan, and she was preceded by Alan Chmiel, who served from 2006 to 2012.