Six seek election to Lebanon School Board


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 03-09-2023 4:37 PM

LEBANON — As the School District prepares to welcome a new superintendent, the School Board will have turnover of its own after next week’s municipal election, where only one incumbent with an expiring term is running for reelection.

On Tuesday, city voters will select four candidates from a field of six candidates divided into two races.

The lone incumbent seeking reelection, Wendy Hall, is running against Blendon Salls for a two-year position. Hall was appointed to the seat in June to replace former board member Renee DePalo, who resigned in the first year of her term.

In a second race, four residents — John D’Entremont, Jessica Saturley-Hall, Kevin Schutz and Tia Winter — are vying to fill one of three open three-year terms.

Three board members with expiring terms, Richard Milius, Kristin O’Rourke and Aaron Mills, are not seeking reelection.

The candidates, in interviews with the Valley News, shared a similar desire to support the transition of incoming Superintendent Amy Allen, who will assume her new role on July 1.

“It’s an exciting time for the Lebanon School District,” said Hall.

Hall, 53, was previously on the School Board from 2015 to 2021, serving as chairwoman during the last two years. She did not seek reelection after her second term, but was appointed to fill DePalo’s seat.

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Hall said her prior experience and “institutional knowledge” of the district can help facilitate the superintendent transition, which Hall feels is the top priority next year.

“I think it is too early and unfair to be specific about what goals I have for the new superintendent until we — and she — have an opportunity to develop a plan for her first year,” Hall said. “Mostly, my initial hope is for a successful onboarding and transition process for Amy so that the district can move forward.”

Salls, 40, attended Lebanon schools and is a father of three students in the district. He also has worked with youth as a school administrator and in his current role of sports director at CCBA.

“I have grown to understand how complicated schools can be and (I) have developed a level-headed problem solving approach to school issues,” Salls said. “As a longtime resident of Lebanon, I understand the complexities of the community, I believe historical knowledge is critical to be able to be a good board member.”

While advancing education carries a financial cost, Salls said that “budgets can be developed with taxpayers in mind as well.”

Winter, 33, is a clinical social worker and a member of the city’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, an advisory group created to recommend ways to make the city welcoming and accessible to people of all backgrounds.

As a strong advocate for underserved families and DEI initiatives, Winter said she wants to protect programs that support at-risk students and prepare all students for life after graduation.

“The most recent census showed that Lebanon is a growing community, with the population becoming younger and more diverse,” Winter noted. “The incoming superintendent has experience with DEI issues in a larger, diverse school district. Applying that knowledge would benefit the Lebanon School District greatly.”

Schutz, 42, is a scientist and parent of two students at Mt. Lebanon Elementary School in West Lebanon, where he also volunteers with extracurricular learning programs.

Schutz served on the superintendent search committee that recommended Allen’s hire and said he would like to continue his involvement in the district’s transition of leadership.

“I think we have hired an exceptionally talented, committed and effective superintendent to lead our school district,” Schutz said. “I would be excited to have the opportunity to work with her as she begins her work to understand the district and, in collaboration with the board, take it where it needs to go.”

Schutz said his priorities include preserving high-quality instruction for students and supporting district educators.

D’Entremont was the principal of Lebanon Middle School, where he worked from 2014 to 2022, first as a teacher and eventually as head administrator.

Now the principal of the Lyme School, D’Entremont said he wants to share his experience and insight in the governing of the city schools, where two of his children remain enrolled.

“I have a strong understanding of how school districts operate, and in my daily work, I collaborate with various constituencies for the benefit of students,” D’Entremont said. “I believe I can help others understand the complexities of running schools and the challenges faced by students, teachers and administrators.”

D’Entremont said he hopes to encourage stronger community engagement and understanding of the educational process, as well as more board involvement in the statewide effort to improve the equity of New Hampshire school funding.

Saturley-Hall, a 37-year-old management consultant, said she aims to be a vocal advocate for prekindergarten and early education, which she believes is a cornerstone to a quality K-12 education.

“I am a parent of two children attending the preschool program run by the Lebanon schools, and I strongly believe that creating and promoting access to high quality early childhood education programs is good for Lebanon families,” she said.

While praising Lebanon’s preschool program, Saturley-Hall said that the early child educators need “additional recognition and support” to meet the growing need and demand of families.

As a former board member of the Hanover Consumer Co-operative Society, Saturley-Hall “is confident” that she will learn quickly as a board member to meet the needs of the educators, students and the community at large.

School elections will be held on Tuesday. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Ward 1 voters will vote at Kilton Public Library at 80 Main St, in West Lebanon. Ward 2 voters will vote at United Methodist Church at 18 School St. Ward 3 voters will vote at City Hall at 51 North Park St.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at or at 603-727-3216.