Superintendent has ‘lots of plans’ for retirement

Head of Wilton-Lyndeborough will not renew her contract

LYNDEBOROUGH – Dr. Christine Tyrie has cho­sen to not renew her con­tract as superintendent of SAU 63 when it expires June 30, but she said her retirement simply means "I won’t be working full time."

Tyrie said there are a lot of things she wants to do: "Some opportunities I want to pursue – join a gym, write a book, all those things you never get to. I’ve been researching my family, all the immi­grants, and I want to write their story for new gener­ation."

She added, "I have lots of plans."

Her new offices at Lyndeborough Central School – now the district Early Learning Center – prompted her to talk about the consolidation of the elementary schools in Wilton and Lyndebor­ough, which took up much of her three years in the district.

"It turned out exactly as good as I had thought it would," she said. "I see a lot of towns strug­gling with declining en­rollment, losing kids. I’m proud of our own board for crafting this solution, and it’s working."

A feature she particu­larly likes is its flexibility. "If the numbers go up again, we can bring the first grade back here," Tyrie said.

The school currently houses kindergarten and prekindergarten, but rooms and walls were designed to be moved. "It could be in the cards in the next 10 years," she said. As a resident of Francestown, Tyrie said she was aware of the current unrest among the towns in the ConVal School District, all faced with declining numbers, and the unhappiness with the prospect of combining schools, of closing many of the elementary schools.

"I’m glad I played a role in our consolidation, how we could consolidate, use this building, "she said. "I always saw it as an early learning center, the 3- to 5-year-olds. I felt strongly we needed to move. "Children are ready to learn at an earlier age (than once thought). They do more in kindergarten."

Tyrie’s other interest is curriculum. "Competency-based evaluation is big in New Hampshire right now, "she said. "There is more technology in the classroom. We need to raise awareness of the importance of education." Professional days are devoted more to technology, she said.

She also talked about recent nationwide bomb threats that have caused schools to be closed or locked down. "I do worry," she said. "I think everyone does. It’s something that keeps you up at night. You have to keep the schools as safe as you can. You do your best." The schools have a procedure to follow, she said. "We do lockdown drills," Tyrie said. "We liaise with the police. We have really good people, a great staff who are vigilant. We try to be proactive, have as much in place as possible and be sure the communication lines are open, but it is something we think about often."

Tyrie grew up in New Jersey and attended the State University of New York, where she met her husband, Tom. They have one daughter. "He had been stationed in Portsmouth, so we moved here," she said. "I went to Rivier for my masters’ degree. I was tired of education degrees and got an MBA at Southern New Hampshire University." Her doctorate in education is from the University of Sarasota in Florida. She taught for several years with the International Baccalaureate Program, working in Ecuador, Kuwait, Bangkok and Rome.

Before coming to SAU 63, which consist of Wilton and Lyndeborough, she was assistant superintendent of schools on Nantucket. She also served in Henniker and in Franklin. "We will always have a home in Francestown," Tyrie said. "My husband built the house, but there are the winters, and we like traveling."