By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Matthew Thornton Elementary is getting a new leader.
The Londonderry School Board has named Sharon Putney as the new principal of Matthew Thornton Elementary School. She will take over July 1 and replace retiring Matthew Thornton principal Carol Mack.
School Board officials made the announcement at their meeting May 7.
Putney is completing her fifth year as assistant principal of Thorntons Ferry Elementary School in Merrimack. She is the New Hampshire Elementary Assistant Principal of the Year and a former New Hampshire Gifted and Talented Teacher of the Year.
She began her educational career in 1982, first serving as a general music and chorus teacher.
Putney was the first choice of the 13-member screening committee, which included a School Board member, superintendent, assistant superintendent, human resources director, elementary principal, two Matthew Thornton parents, and six Matthew Thornton faculty and staff members.
Putney said she was honored to be chosen to replace Mack and take over the helm at Matthew Thornton Elementary.
“The feeling you get when you walk in that school is incredible,” Putney said at the meeting. “It truly is a family.”
School Board member Nancy Hendricks said Putney “sailed right to the top” of the list of best contenders for the job.
School officials thanked everyone who worked on the selection process.
Saying goodbye to Mack will be “bittersweet,” Hendricks said, but added the school would be in good hands.
Putney said it could take some time to remember which of her “Thornton” schools are which; both are named in honor of the New Hampshire Revolutionary War hero.
“I’m coming from a school named after Matthew Thornton and coming to a school named after Matthew Thornton,” Putney said. “It’s going to take some practice.”