Superintendent of Schools Debra Livingston has named the district’s new director of student services and preschool coordinator, as well as two assistant principals. The Board of School Committee officially approved the hires at last week’s meeting.
As director of student services, Dr. Jennifer Dolloff will be responsible for the school district’s special education program, maintaining and monitoring the records of all students receiving services. She will supervise special education staff across the district and serve as chief advocate for the needs of Manchester’s special education students at the state and national levels.
Dr. Dolloff comes to our district from the Southeastern Regional Education Service Center (SERESC) in Bedford. SERESC is a consortium of educational consultants and programs providing school districts across the state with resources and assistance. Dr. Dolloff’s role there primarily focused on the needs of children receiving special education services.
“My first priority will be to develop a full understanding of the special education programs and services available to students in Manchester,” said Dr. Dolloff. “I look forward to visiting schools and talking with students, staff, and parents.”
After beginning her career as a classroom special education teacher, Dr. Dolloff served as special education coordinator in the Monadnock Regional School District for five years, then as director of special education for the Nashua School District, before moving to her most recent position at SERESC in 2004. Dr. Dolloff received her doctorate of education from Rivier University and holds advanced degrees in education from the University of Massachusetts and Boston College.
Mary Beth Shea is the new special education coordinator for the district’s Selma Deitch Early Learning Program. She will oversee preschool for three- and four-year olds at five school locations, as well as the daily operations of Child Find, the team of specialists which evaluates and identifies children who qualify for special education or related services.
During her education career, Shea has been principal of two Massachusetts elementary schools, assistant principal of another, and social worker for two school districts, including Manchester. In that role from 2013 to 2015, she provided support to our city’s refugee and homeless students in grades six to 12. Shea is happy to return to Manchester in a new capacity.
“I believe it is essential for parents and educators to work together as partners to ensure children develop solid academic skills and a lifelong love of learning,” Shea said. “I am looking forward to getting to know the preschool staff, and learning how I can best support their work.”
Shea replaces Pam Agate, who served as Manchester’s preschool special education coordinator since 2011 and is now assistant principal at Jewett Street Elementary School. First a paraprofessional, then preschool special education teacher, Agate also was a teaching assistant principal for three years, supervising preschool staff and approximately 300 students in the Selma Deitch Early Learning Program.
West High School also welcomes a new assistant principal, Laura Lord. She is another familiar face in Manchester, most recently serving as special education teacher and case manager at Hillside Middle School. There, Lord developed and implemented Individual Education Plans, collaborating with teachers to ensure support for the students who have IEPs. Her skills and experience are a strength for her new role at West, which focuses on student services.
Lord and Agate began the academic year at their new schools; Dr. Dolloff and Shea will take on their positions before the end of September.
“Manchester is fortunate to welcome these talented new leaders to the school district,” Dr. Livingston said. “Their contributions to education in our city will support the work we do every day to help students reach the high quality standards we’ve set.”