Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders leaving ConVal School District

Kimberly Rizzo Saunders

Kimberly Rizzo Saunders —COURTESY PHOTO


Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Published: 05-20-2024 12:13 PM

Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders will be leaving the ConVal School District Aug. 22 to take a superintendent position with the Kennett Consolidated School District in Chester County, Pa.

The Kennett board is scheduled to formally vote on her appointment Monday. The district is about 40 miles southwest of Philadelphia and serves 4,000 students in six schools. 

"The Contoocook Valley School District and its nearly 2,000 students have benefited in a multitude of ways from the outstanding leadership and organization of Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders. She is a true force, supporting opportunities for our students, faculty and staff both inside the classroom and outside," ConVal School Board Chair Dick Dunning stated Monday. "She will be a difficult leader to replace, and I join the members of the School Board in thanking her for her service to our school community." 

Rizzo Saunders has served as ConVal superintendent since July 2016. Prior to serving as superintendent, she was assistant superintendent at the district for seven years.

"ConVal is a unique and special community, and I have enjoyed working with a generation of teachers, administrators and, of course, our students over these past 15 years," Rizzo Saunders stated. "I am truly grateful for the experiences and challenges of working in this district and for the tremendous gift of working alongside so many dedicated and truly selfless educators."

In December 2023, Rizzo Saunders was named New Hampshire Superintendent of the Year by the New Hampshire School Administrators Association. In February, she was recognized as one of four finalists in Superintendent of the Year at the National Conference in Education in San Diego.

Rizzo Saunders has been recognized for her work in a lawsuit against the State of New Hampshire demanding increased school funding, in which ConVal is the lead plaintiff. In November 2023, Judge David Ruoff of Rockingham Country Superior Court determined that New Hampshire was not meeting its constitutional  obligation to adequately fund schools, ruling that the $4,100 per year the state provides is too low. The state Supreme Court issued a stay in March, giving the state time for its appeal.

During the 2023-2024 school year, Rizzo Saunders presided over a proposal put forward by the ConVal School Board to alter the district’s Articles of Agreement. A warrant article on the ConVal ballot that could have paved the way to closing the elementary schools in Bennington, Dublin, Francestown and Temple was defeated at the polls on March 12. The proposal, which needed a two-thirds majority to  pass, received 45.47% of the vote in the nine towns of the ConVal School District. 

In the aftermath of the failed reconfiguration warrant article, Francestown and Dublin requested the ConVal School Board undertake feasibility studies for the possibility of the towns withdrawing from the ConVal School District.