DERRY  — The Derry Cooperative School Board officially approved a new principal for Ernest P. Barka Elementary School.

At a meeting on March 2, the board named David Brown, the current assistant principal at Barka, as the new leader beginning in the next school year.

Brown will take over the helm from longtime principal Daniel LaFleur, who will retire at the end of this school year.

Brown told the board he is honored to take the top position and credited LaFleur for being his mentor and support.

Brown grew up in Derry, attending Floyd, Grinnell, Gilbert H. Hood and Pinkerton Academy schools.

He joined the U.S. Army and eventually said he was "called back to Derry" because of all the great educators he had in his life.

Brown taught physical education for 18 years at Hood middle school and then became the assistant principal at Barka.

He credited LaFleur for always being there for support and help when needed.

"I've been able to go to him for everything," Brown said. "That relationship will continue even after he retires."

LaFleur announced his retirement earlier and was also honored at the recent meeting with much thanks for his many years serving the district.

That includes leading Barka as principal for 16 years and prior to that serving as assistant principal on the elementary and middle school level and also as principal at South Range Elementary.

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