State education nominee was criticized as principal for politics on the job

John Rist, Gov. John Lynch’s nominee to serve on the State Board of Education, was criticized in 2008 while he served as principal of Manchester Central High for attempting to skirt the rules to aid then-Sen. Hillary Clinton by giving her a plum speaking slot at the high school’s graduation ceremony.

Clinton was running for president at the time and Rist later endorsed her. Republicans and the powerful New Hampshire Union Leader criticized Rist’s actions at the time. “Having a single presidential candidate speak at a public high school graduation is entirely inappropriate,” opined the Union Leader. “Intentionally or not, Principal Rist is turning commencement into a Clinton campaign stop and offering up the students as props.”

Lynch nominated Rist on Wednesday to fill a vacancy on the State Board of Education created by the resignation of Stephen R. L’Huereux of Hooksett.

The revelations call into question the propriety of the Rist nomination, which many see as overly political. UNH polling director Andy Smith said at the time that Rist’s wife Kathy Sullivan, one of the most powerful Democrats in the state, probably “had something to do with their ability to make it possible for Clinton to come to the school, but I wouldn’t see it as an endorsement.”

In fact, State House sources tell the Journal that many Republicans are privately furious about the nomination and view it as a slap in the face to the Governor’s Executive Council, many of whom Rist’s wife Sullivan has personally attacked and smeared over the years.

Stay tuned …

Author: Shawn Millerick

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  • Anonymous

          Not being from Manchester, one would have to wonder how his tenure as a high school principal in the State’s largest City worked out. What did he do for them? Drop out rate? Test scores? “No principal” left behind act?? Was the school winning awards, or on probation? What can he bring to the party to improve future education for ALL in the State of NH?
     
       The politics will always unfortunately enter as it will, but since it is a position for the State Board of Education, let’s hear about his qualifications! It’s a changing time, and kids are never going to be the same again with the social networks and demands to be “entertained” rather than sitting still and paying attention. This clearly isn’t “your Father’s (or Mother’s) school room” anymore. It’s more like the Oldsmobile. Gone… Was this guy really advocating for kids, or unions? He has a record! Let’s hear about it!

     How was the product going out the door?  Applications and acceptances to 4 year colleges? Guidance Dept up to speed, or the usual?  VoTech opportunities, ESL, extra help, union relations, management skills, ET AL? Let’s have a look at his record! What issues happened on his watch, and how were they handled? Is he the “best we have in NH” for this post?

      How about looking for some candidates with “keen minds and sharp pencils” for this position?

      Why not the best?   Indeed…