EXETER — Three members of the SAU 16 leadership team were recently elected or appointed to positions on state, regional and national educational organizations.

Director of Student Services Helen Rist begins her two-year term as President-Elect of the New Hampshire Association of Special Education Administrators on July 1, after serving the organization as a Member-at-Large on the Board of Directors.

She will follow with a two-year term as President and then a two-year term as Past President. Rist has served SAU 16 as principal of Newfields Elementary School and now as Director of Student Services.

In her capacity as President-Elect, Rist will assist with the design of professional development opportunities offered by NHASEA, serve as an adviser to members of the organization, be a statewide voice for important issues related to special education and work in collaboration with the executive director in the oversight of NHASEA.

Superintendent David Ryan has been elected to serve as a council member on the New England Regional Council of the College Board, and began a three-year term representing New Hampshire on Feb. 1

Ryan is completing his first year as SAU 16 superintendent, but has previously served the College Board in other capacities, most recently as a part of their Principals Advisory Council in 2013, when he was chosen as one of three finalists for the National Association of Secondary School Principals' National High School Principal of the Year.

Ryan has also presented and facilitated professional learning workshops at previous College Board events. These include bringing to the council table suggestions, issues and ideas regarding College Board programs and services; providing advice and engaging in finding solutions for challenging issues facing members and member institutions; assisting with the planning of the Regional Forum and forum activities on an annual basis for the assembly; and volunteering to serve on ad hoc subcommittees during the three-year term.

Associate Superintendent Esther Asbell has been appointed to a two-year term on the Executive Board of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA), a Pennsylvania based organization that brings together professionals from multiple disciplines who are engaged in the essential function of behavioral intervention in schools, on college campuses, and in corporations and organizations for mutual support and shared learning. As a part of the overall school and student safety planning program, SAU 16 has been working with NaBITA to establish local proactive protocols for identifying students who may pose a risk to themselves or others.

Asbell has taken a leadership role in this area and, with SAU 16 being one of the first K-12 districts to adopt NaBITA protocols and training, her work has attracted great interest from the national organization as it looks to expand to more K-12 systems nationwide.

Asbell’s term officially begins in November, and her responsibilities will include assisting in the planning of the annual national conference, developing informative tips and articles for NaBITA publications, submitting and leading a professional learning session at NaBITA conferences, assisting on national-level K-12 projects and providing leadership at periodic executive board meetings and events.

“We believe that all SAU 16 employees have talent to share with their colleagues beyond the borders of our district, and we have always encouraged active engagement and leadership in organizations like these,” said Travis Thompson, chair of the SAU 16 Joint School Board. “We are proud of Helen, Esther and David for their roles in advancing our mission at the state, regional, and national levels."



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