New Hampshire Selectpersons Institute Celebrates Tenth Year

Contact: Jack Calhoun at 603.283.2108 or Jan Fiderio at 603.283.2107

May 26, 2008 for Immediate Release

New Hampshire Selectpersons Institute Celebrates Tenth Year

Leadership program has trained 219 selectpersons from 103 NH communities

Keene, NH – When the New Hampshire Selectperson Institute kicked off its newest class on April nineteenth at the New Hampshire Local Government Center in Concord it marked an important milestone. This is the tenth year that the Antioch New England Institute (ANEI), a department of Antioch University New England, has offered this unique and popular program to elected Selectpersons in New Hampshire.

Begun by Antioch New England Institute (ANEI) in 1999 the New Hampshire Selectperson Institute has provided training for 219 Selectpersons from 103 towns throughout New Hampshire. What began as the kernel of an idea with a small group of municipal officials in the Monadnock Region has grown into a successful statewide program, says Jack Calhoun, Interim Executive Director of ANEI and instructor with the institute since its first year. In many ways this program reflects how positive things can be accomplished in the State of New Hampshire. A group of citizens has an idea. Together they refine the concept and together seek funding.

Early seed money for the Selectperson Institute came from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Monadnock Region, the New Hampshire Local Government Center (LGC) Property-Liability Trust, Granite Bank (now Ocean National Bank), Primex, and Mascoma Saving Bank. Since 2005 the New Hampshire Selectperson Institute has been offered through an exclusive arrangement between the New Hampshire Local Government Center Property-Liability Trust and the Antioch New England Institute.

According to Scott Weden, Risk and Health Manager for Property-Liability Trust at the New Hampshire Local Government Center the LGC has been an avid supporter of the Selectperson Institute since its inception in 1999 and finds it a dynamic forum for newly elected and seasoned officials to actively discuss, brainstorm and share experiences. Weden says the success of the Selectperson’s Institute inspired the LGC to partner with ANEI again to launch a similar certification program called the Local Government Leadership Institute. That institute provides training to local government administrators, managers and supervisors in New Hampshire. Both programs, Weden continued, greatly benefit from ANEI’s rich history of educational expertise and deep dedication to leadership development. Our participating members welcome the growth opportunities these programs provide and graduate from them feeling both inspired and energized to capably handle today’s public-sector job challenges.

Most of those who participate in the Selectperson’s Institute are newly elected, although a few seasoned veterans participate as well. This provides a good balance to our sessions, says Calhoun. Frequently the feedback that we receive from participants underscores that they appreciate the chance to interact with and learn from their peers in communities in other parts of the State.

Regan Pride of Lisbon participated in the New Hampshire Selectperson Institute in 2006. Since that time he has become the Town Administrator for Lisbon. Through this program participants learn that they are not alone in the issues they face, says Pride. It is a valuable experience for discovering different solutions to the same problems, and making contacts with others. I actively encourage Selectpersons from my community to participate in the program. Currently two members of the Lisbon Board of Selectmen are enrolled in the institute.

According to Calhoun more applications for enrollment were received this year than in any prior year. While we are thrilled with the level of interest in the program, he says, We regret that we only had space for 36 participants. This means that more than twenty people could not get into the program this year. Calhoun says that they will be offered priority enrollment for next year’s program.

Historical Perspective:
In the late 1980s, then Governor (now U.S. Senator) Judd Gregg established the Governor’s Commission on New Hampshire in the 21st Century. In its final report – New Hampshire: My Responsibility released in January 1991, the Commission provided a long list of suggestion actions that would address issues facing the State. Listed among the ways to improve government performance was a need for leadership training so that people who serve in government have the skills necessary to do the job.

We are proud of our role in helping to realize one of the goals of that report, Calhoun stated. As is so often the case in New Hampshire, however, it is not just one person or group that causes positive change. Rather, it is the wisdom and capabilities of a host of people and organizations that together combine their talents and resources to create something greater than the sum of their parts. This is what we have been able to accomplish with the New Hampshire Selectperson Institute. Certainly the financial backing of the New Hampshire Local Government Center Property-Liability Trust has provided the necessary long term support for the program.

For more information:
For more information on the Selectpersons Institute, please contact Jack Calhoun at (603) 283-2108.

About Antioch University New England
Antioch University New England offers rigorous, practice-oriented, values-based Master’s, Doctoral and certificate programs to more than one thousand students. Programs in education, environmental studies, management, and psychology reflect a dedication to activism, social justice, community service, and sustainability.