Hooper Trustees: Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Cheryl Mayberry
Hooper Institute Board: Eloise Clark (Director); Becky Whippie (Educator); Karen Galloway, Marcia Galloway, Holly Gowdy, Elaine Heleen, Rebecca Sethi
CALL TO ORDER: Mr. Dalessio called this Joint Meeting of the Hooper Trustees with the Hooper Institute Board to order at 7:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.
CELEBRATION: Mr. Dalessio suggested doing this a little later in the meeting to be sure all the Hooper Institute Board members are present.
Job Descriptions: Executive Director and Educator: Mr. Dalessio passed out the job descriptions for both the Executive Director and Educator of the Frederick H. Hooper Institute that Mrs. Pschirrer drafted. The feeling of the Hooper Trustees is the job scope is getting bigger. They would like to see the Hooper Institute grow.
Under Job Summary: Mrs. Clark advised that they call the “Walpole Middle and Elementary Schools” the “Walpole Elementary School”. There are gardens at the North Walpole School, the Walpole Primary School, and Walpole Elementary School.
Mr. Dalessio said where it states “Cooperates and collaborates with the other teachers on the staff of the Hooper Institute” it should include “and other teachers in the Walpole area as well”. Mrs. Sethi asked if the Educator position will be similar to Mrs. Clark’s position. Mr. Dalessio said it is up for discussion but it is primarily the same. It would include adults and other things outside the school setting. Examples include summer camps, woodworking, etc. Mrs. Pschirrer mentioned they may not want these job descriptions to get so detailed that it frightens everybody. Mr. Dalessio said if they go down to Tasks, it says “Teach elementary or middle school classes, adult and young people programs outside of the normal school setting”. Mrs. Clark mentioned if it will include adults it should state “Pre-K through high school”. Mrs. Pschirrer advised the court decrees over the years have expanded the will, particularly in 1995 which added environmental studies and other things. It also split up the Trust. Mrs. Gowdy noted they could change the language to say it educates school children and the Walpole community. That would be a lot more inclusive. This broader wording would cover adults and teenagers.
Ms. Karen Galloway had a question related to “Teach elementary or middle school classes”. We have a principal at the Walpole School who welcomes Mrs. Clark and Mrs. Whippie visits into the schools and teaching classes. However, he will retire in a few years. We certainly hope these classes will continue but who knows what a new principal will want. Things will change in the next few years. At some point there will be a new Superintendent of Schools. Mrs. Pschirrer questioned if a decision to keep the Hooper educators from coming into the schools would be up to the principal alone. The governing body of the school district may be the decision maker. Instruction is being provided at no cost to the schools. It would be up to the Hooper Board to redirect itself if that were to happen. We could have classes back at the Hooper Institute. Mrs. Gowdy suggested we have Mr. Jacobs and the new science teacher participate in the search. Mr. Dalessio replied that they will be asked to participate in the search committee. Mr. Dalessio suggested drafting a Letter of Understanding, with the help of this Board, that could be sent to the School Board in anticipation of changes that might occur in the Walpole schools. The Hooper Institute would like to continue their programs in the schools. Mrs. Gowdy feels it is better to have the children in the schools for after school activities. Mrs. Clark went through four principal transitions and never had a problem. It is important for the Educator to cultivate good classroom relationships with the teachers. Mrs. Whippie said they communicate by email with the teachers. She asks the teachers if they approve of certain programs. She looks for what the teachers are looking for from her. She does sugaring at the different levels and works on trips to visit sugaring houses with the teachers. Mrs. Pschirrer summarized that we will do a Letter of Understanding and include the history of the Hooper Institute with the letter. The Hooper Institute started in the Walpole schools before FMRSD was created. Mr. Dalessio agreed with creating the letter. It will be good to get the conversation started. Ms. Mayberry mentioned adding that a background check is required in the job description. Mrs. Pschirrer said it is not required for the job description, but it is required for employment.
Mrs. Clark asked who will handle the maintenance work in the building such as unplug a toilet, shovel, etc. Mrs. Pschirrer felt the Executive Director should oversee the building and grounds. Mrs. Sethi asked where the fundraising line is for this position. We are taking a part-time job and turning it into two part-time jobs. Mr. Dalessio replied they are working on that. This started out as an overall concept and now they are defining it. All of us have the same desire to see the Hooper grow, not just in the schools but also in the community. The WRAP Committee at the Recycling Center is gone. They oversee the programs, help with volunteers, do outreach, etc. It was started by George Watkins. Fritze Till was active at some point with WRAP. The Hooper Institute could start playing a part in all of that; picking up some of those roles. The WRAP Committee is important to re-build again. It was a Town committee. Mr. Dalessio would like to see the Hooper help redevelop it. Mrs. Gowdy noted it is hard to get young families involved in some of these activities; they have no time. Mr. Dalessio said the ideal candidate is someone who is just sending a child off to college. Mrs. Clark mentioned a weight limit as they are lifting heavy gardening bags. Mrs. Gowdy added can they hike up Fall Mountain to Table Rock or canoe down the Connecticut River? It is important that these people are skilled in all of the things they are teaching our youngsters and community folks. Mr. Dalessio said it is a well-taken point but they have to figure how to word it. Mr. Dalessio summarized that they have a number of changes and additions.
Mr. Dalessio advised that he/she oversee all programs of the Hooper Institute. “Elementary and Middle School” will be changed to “Walpole Attendance Area”. Ms. Karen Galloway mentioned that the Director will not be going into the schools. Mr. Dalessio said that is correct. There will be three employees. Mrs. Clark questioned who the Director would report to. Mrs. Pschirrer replied if the Board of Directors is functioning completely, he-or-she would report to the Board of Directors. The buck stops with the Hooper Trustees. Mrs. Sethi asked who would be responsible for an evaluation. Ideally it would be the Board of Directors. Mr. Dalessio pointed out that the last thing the Hooper Trustees want to do is micro-manage. Mrs. Clark asked if the Director will be a fundraiser. Mr. Dalessio replied raising money is a part of the position. Mrs. Sethi asked if the Director would be asked to fill in for one of the Educators. Mr. Dalessio said it will depend on the person. The job description includes that teaching experience would be helpful. Under Tasks – Mrs. Sethi said under “Cooperate with the Walpole Conservation Commission and Recycling Center” add “and other groups in Town”. Under “Oversee Hooper Institute buildings and grounds” add “and community gardens”. Replying to a question from Mrs. Clark about funding, Mrs. Pschirrer noted they have to start thinking about money. Mr. Dalessio said none of this is new; it is in meeting minutes going back many years. He asked for comments
Mrs. Gowdy has been involved with the Hooper since they moved here about 30 years ago. She believes in what it can do for our young people. Walpole has put a lot of land under conservation, which she thinks is a great thing. Her concern is looking at the dairy industry and working farms. She wonders what about their future. It is important that we have a vision of looking at the land we have. Hopefully the younger people will remain in our community and make their living working on that land. If the cows go the corn will not get planted. We need to see if we can develop a farming interest in students. When they go off to school, students should learn something about the farming industry so that when they come back to Walpole, they will want to settle here. The Hooper will be a huge value for our young adults. The younger kids know about farming and there is an interest there. As she looks at younger people enrolled in agricultural programs, she does not see them coming back to Walpole because they do not see a future here. Mrs. Pschirrer said the Master Plan mentioned open space – can it become more recreational with hiking trails/mountain biking. Mr. Dalessio said it is valuable for the Hooper Institute to take on some of these roles of broader vision. Mrs. Marcia Galloway said it needs to go beyond the Hooper. Mr. Dalessio noted there are lots of different type farms in Walpole other than dairy farming. There are poultry farms. Forestry is another occupation. Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Conservation Commission has been looking at the forests. A timber cut at the Hooper Forest means money for the Institute. Ms. Karen Galloway mentioned if the dairy farms go, we will be in trouble.
Mr. Dalessio advised the Hooper Trustees would like to see the Institute building used year-round. Mrs. Sethi would like to see a place for the youth to go such as a youth center. Mrs. Clark talked about building a new zero energy building in back of the Institute. There was discussion relative to starting the process for having the Hooper Institute building put on the State Register of Historic Buildings. Mrs. Pschirrer feels the outside of the building can be preserved but they could renovate the first floor. Make it more user friendly. There was discussion about the downstairs being good for students to do projects. Mr. Dalessio summarized that they will re-draft these job descriptions and reconvene again.
Chair: of Search Committee: Mr. Dalessio advised the Chair of the Search Committee will be Susan Wycoff. She has been on the Scholarship Committee for a number of years and is an educator at the university level. She has the experience to be the Chair. The Search Committee will look at people and make recommendations.
Committee: Hooper Institute Board and Hooper Trustees: The Hooper Trustees and Hooper Institute Board will be a part of the committee. There was a consensus to start the process of recruiting now.
Additional Members: Sam Jacobs and Joe Coneeney: Mr. Sam Jacobs and the science teacher will be asked to be members of the Search Committee.
Next Hooper Institute Board Meeting: The next meeting of the Hooper Institute Board is Tuesday, April 9th, 2019. Several members said they would be unable to attend. Therefore, the meeting will be re-scheduled. Tentatively the date was set as Monday, April 15th at 7:00 PM. Mrs. Pschirrer will have Susan Wycoff attend their next meeting.
CELEBRATION: Mrs. Pschirrer advised the Hooper Trustees and Hooper Institute Board are celebrating Mrs. Eloise Clark’s many years of service. There was a consensus to have an Open House for the community at the Hooper Institute on Sunday, June 23rd, 2019 with a reception from 1:00-to-4:00 PM. Mrs. Clark’s last day will tentatively be sometime in August. Summer programs will start as soon as school ends.
What Is A Board: There was a consensus to postpone this discussion until the next meeting.
Grants: Mrs. Pschirrer reported that the NH Charitable Trust Foundation has Express Grants. The next deadline is May 11,2019. They are $5,000 grants. It is worth looking into. They fund Not-for-Profit groups. Mrs. Gowdy advised they did receive one grant for the High School Program.
ADJOURNMENT: Mr. Dalessio declared this meeting adjourned at 8:25 PM.
Regina Borden, Recording Secretary