Jenn Gillis named new superintendent of Manchester’s public schools

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Dr. Jennifer Gillis on March 14, 2022. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester’s Board of School Committee (BOSC) on Wednesday unanimously appointed Dr. Jenn Gillis to serve as the Superintendent of Schools for Manchester School District. Gillis has been serving as the district’s interim superintendent since Feb. 14 of this year after the departure of former superintendent Dr. John Goldhardt.

Gillis joined the Manchester School District in 2014 as principal at Southside Middle School, and has served as Assistant Superintendent in charge of operations and facilities for the district since 2018. That role placed her in the middle of the district’s pandemic response, leveraging work with state, municipal and community partners to provide critical food resources, offer vaccination clinics, and implement safety measures at school buildings.  Gillis has an MBA in Leadership, Certificate in Advanced Graduate Study in Educational Leadership and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

The search was highlighted by a series of community listening sessions organized by NH Listens, an organization within the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy, which released its full and final report from the listening sessions on Wednesday (see below).

In those sessions, residents said that wanted a candidate who knew the city and would stick with the city an extended period, something the BOSC believed described Gillis.

“I want to thank the Board of School Committee for the opportunity to serve as Superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said Gillis. “I’m thrilled to be able to continue to serve our community. We have a lot of important work ahead of us, but everything we do – everything we can achieve – will come through our collective efforts. I’m looking forward to the continued work with our students, district staff, families, elected officials and community partners.”

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Jennifer Gillis has been named superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said Mayor and BOSC Chair Joyce Craig. “Dr. Gillis has a deep understanding of our community, a keen eye for detail and process, and a strong commitment to ensuring that all of our students have access to a quality education. Since taking on the role of interim superintendent, she has proven herself to be a coalition builder, who has the trust of students, staff and parents, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

“I’m very proud of the work done by the Board of School Committee in reaching a unanimous vote to appoint Dr. Jenn Gillis as the superintendent of the Manchester School District,” said BOSC Vice-Chair Jim O’Connell. “The Board heard the clear voice of the people of Manchester who resoundingly told us that they wanted a candidate who had local knowledge and who was ready to take up the reins leading our city forward immediately. Dr. Gillis has proven herself to be a great interim superintendent, and I am confident that she will lead us to not just meet but exceed the goals in our strategic plan.”

The Board voted to approve a starting salary of $177,100 for a three-year term with an option to renew for one year commencing immediately.

While no members of the board voted in opposition to Gillis, Ward 1 BOSC Member Julie Turner and Ward 12 BOSC Member Carlos Gonzalez were absent and Craig voted remotely after announcing several days ago that she would be quarantining after contracting COVID-19.

There were two finalists for the position, with O’Connell telling Manchester Ink Link that the other finalist was not notified and their name will not be released.

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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.