May 2024 ORCSD Superintendent Newsletter

A graphic with the ORCSD logo and the caption: Superintendent Newsletter May 2024, volume 4, issue 4

Dear Oyster River Students, Parents, Caregivers, Staff, and Community,

As I sit down to write this final newsletter before my retirement, I am filled with a mix of emotions. Serving as ORCSD’s superintendent for the past twelve years has been an incredible journey. Reflecting on my forty-seven-year career in education also brings both nostalgia and pride.

None of my achievements would have been possible without the support of our talented faculty, staff, students, administrators, and the residents of Durham, Lee, and Madbury. Their passion for public education and commitment to student success have been the driving force behind everything we have accomplished together.

It has been a privilege to serve such an amazing school system. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your lives, and I wish you all continued success in the years to come.

Many ORCSD staff and students have received accolades throughout the school year. You may find a list of these accomplishments below.


  • Director of Information Technology Joshua Olstad was elected to serve on the North American Leadership Group (NA-LG).
  • Director of Communications Genevieve Brown was elected to serve as New Hampshire Representative on the New England Public Relations School Association (NESPRA) executive board.

Mast Way

  • Mast Way was ranked a Best School in New Hampshire by the U.S. News & World Report.
  • Coordinated highly attended musicals and community events (Spooktacular, Willy Wonka Jr., and more).


  • Moharimet was ranked a Best School in New Hampshire by the U.S. News & World Report.
  • Hosted the 20th edition of its famous Pancake Breakfast.
  • Coordinated highly attended musicals and community events (Pumpkin Stroll, Finding Nemo Jr., and more).

Oyster River Middle School

  • Student Noah Sanders was sworn in as 2024 NH Kid Executive Councilor at the State House in Concord.
  • Hosted its annual Veteran's Day Celebration for community members.
  • Fourteen teams competed in the 2024 VEX IQ State Competition and three teams qualified for the 2024 VEX IQ Challenge World Championship.
  • ORMS Festival Band and Jazz Band both placed first at the Music in the Parks festival.
  • Hosted highly attended concerts, fundraisers, and community events (Pie, Dodgeball, and Walk a Mile fundraisers, grade level nights, March Madness, and more).

Oyster River High School

  • Seniors Owen Nelan, Chris Hawley, and James Li were named Commended Students in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.
  • Eight students were inducted into the National Computer Science Honor Society.
  • Eighteen students were honored at the Scholastic Art Award of New Hampshire ceremony and their work was exhibited at the Durham Public Library.
  • Social Studies Teacher Derek Cangello was one of 60 teachers across the country selected for National History Day’s new professional development program called Revolutionary Ideals. 
  • Senior Landon Wolph was selected as a candidate for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
  • Students Micah Bessette, William Blandini, and Molly Schmidt performed in the New Hampshire Music Educators Association (NHMEA) Jazz All-State Auditions and Festival.
  • ORHS Robotics won the FIRST Team Sustainability Award and the team qualified for the FIRST New England District Championships for the first time.
  • Mouth of the River was awarded first place for General Excellence in the High School Division by the New Hampshire Press Association. Students Abby Owens, Mia Boyd, Kevin Kell, and James Li were awarded individual honors.
  • Hosted many highly successful events, including its inaugural Career Fair.

Athletics - Oyster River High School
Eleven athletes committed to playing sports in college at the Division I and Division III levels.

State Champions

  • Boys Hockey
  • Volleyball
  • Girls Cross Country – Also Meet of Champions Winners and 2nd in New England
  • Girls Indoor Track & Field
  • Girls Track & Field won the Division II State Championship
  • Girls Tennis (second year in a row)

State Runners-Up

  • Girls Swimming & Diving
  • Girls Hockey
  • Unified Volleyball

Fall Highlights

  • Delaney & Teagan Nadeau qualified for the Girls New England Golf Championships.
  • Mackenzie Cook & Haley Kavanagh were named to the Girls Cross Country All New England Team.
  • Annabelle Svenson was named Division II volleyball player of the year.
  • Haley Kavanagh qualified to run in the Nike Cross Nationals.
  • Patrick O’Brien named NH Cross Country Coach of the Year.
  • Volleyball had an undefeated regular season.
  • Colton Brisard represented NH at the 2023 Offense-Defense High School All American Bowl in Bradenton, FL.

Winter Highlights

  • Mackenzie Cook broke indoor track and field record in 3000m in 10:07.
  • Girls Swimming & Diving had an undefeated regular season.
  • Haley Kavanagh broke the Division II indoor track and field record and ORHS record in the 1500m in 4:37.14.
  • Kira Jakobs scored 100 Points in Girls Hockey to become a member of the Century Club.
  • Erin Carty tied indoor track and field school record in 60m hurdles in 9:24.

Spring Highlights

  • Twenty-two student athletes were recognized with statewide Scholar-Athlete Awards by the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association and New Hampshire Athletic Directors Association.
  • Haley Kavanagh broke outdoor track and field 3200m ORHS record in April in 10:56.17.
  • Mackenzie Cook broke Haley’s new 3200m record in May in 10:36.50.
  • The girls 4x800m relay team set an ORHS record time of 9:43.97 (Neely Roy, Maddy Cook, Haley Kavanagh, and Mackenzie Cook).
  • Grace Royal scored 100 points in Girls Lacrosse to become a member of the Century Club.
  • Ty Callander and Jake Failla scored 100 points in Boys Lacrosse to become members of the Century Club.
  • Girls Tennis regular season undefeated and state champions.
  • Boys 4x100m school record broken (Casey Pirtle, Talon Ouellette, Max Scopel, and Colby Gedney).
  • Tommy Fogg qualified for the Track and Field Nationals in the high jump.

ORCSD is one of the finest public school systems in the country. I wish you all continued success.


Dr. James Morse


Assistant Superintendent's Report

Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, the ORCSD will be offering a district-level Seal of Biliteracy award. This award will recognize the value of language diversity and encourage students to pursue language learning. Administrators have been working on this award with faculty and staff since New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut approved the adoption of the Seal of Biliteracy in 2021. 

To receive a Seal of Biliteracy students must reach a high level of proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Language may have been learned within the classroom or outside of the academic setting. Students will also need to reach all graduation requirements, follow attainment procedures, and demonstrate proficiency through an approved assessment. More information about the process and eligibility will be shared in the 2024-2025 school year. 

I am excited for the opportunity to celebrate our bilingual and multilingual students and honor the multiple cultures and languages in our community. Additional information about the Seal of Biliteracy may be found here.  


Suzanne Filippone
Assistant Superintendent 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Justice

As the academic year is ending, there were some new noteworthy DEIJ programs and events the district accomplished. First, we launched our initial Parent & Caregiver of LGBTQ+ Youth support space for families of queer and trans youth. This is a safe space for students and their families to build relationships, ask questions, and show solidarity. Many expressed gratitude and commented on the necessity of holding space. We will continue to host this opportunity twice a semester in 2024-2025 as well as add a parent/caregiver space for students of Color.

Through the support of grant funding, statewide DEIJ directors coordinated and oversaw two free student programs: IGNYTE (a student empowerment conference) and Flourish x Thrive (an LGBTQIA+ student retreat space). Both events were meant to build and share knowledge, foster community, and encourage student agency to create change in their own schools. Students from Oyster River, Exeter, Manchester, Dover, and Concord school districts attended the event. Over 89% of students stated they “would attend this conference again.”

The district’s DEIJ Community Group held its first event called “One Community, Many Voices: Embracing Belonging.” Three local guest speakers shared personal stories about belonging followed by small group discussion. Over thirty community members attended the event and the feedback we received from attendees was overwhelmingly positive.

We are looking forward to hosting more community-targeted events in the future. For additional information, you may view the DEIJ Updates section on the district website here.

Rachael Blansett
DEIJ Director

General News & Announcements

Last Day of School is June 14

Students will be served lunch at school and buses will provide service to their usual routes. Please note the following early dismissal times for our last day of school.

  • Oyster River Middle and High Schools: 12:10 pm
  • Moharimet and Mast Way Schools: 12:35 pm

ORMS Concert Hall Named Morse Recital HallA photo of Superintendent Morse and School Board Member Brian Cisneros during the May 16 ceremony.

On May 16, 2024, during a ceremony in honor of retiring Superintendent Morse, the ORCSD School Board announced that the Oyster River Middle School Concert Hall would now be known as the Morse Recital Hall. Superintendent Morse was also presented with a commendation letter from Governor Sununu. 

Photos and additional information are available here.


End 68 Hours of Hunger
Did you know End 68 Hours of Hunger helps ORCSD families throughout the summer? The program offers free groceries and does not require families to provide financial information. This summer, ORCSD families will receive home deliveries. If you need assistance in receiving support for your ORCSD student(s), please click here or contact Program Coordinator Doris Demers at 

End 68 Hours of Hunger is a program entirely supported by community members' generous financial support. If you are interested in making a monetary donation, please make checks payable to: ORCSD End 68 Hours of Hunger. Checks may be mailed to: c/o Doris Demers, 33 Coe Drive, Durham, NH 03824.

Mast Way and Moharimet Named Among Best in the State

Both schools were ranked by U.S. News & World Reports on their performance on state-required tests, graduation, and how well they prepare their students for high school. The reports highlight students' high level of achievement in math and reading, ranking well above the state average. Additional information is available here.

2024-2025 School Calendar
Our printable 2024-2025 school calendar is available here. Please note this document is subject to updates. We recommend that you check for online updates on the district calendar page regularly.

ORCSD Director of IT Elected to LG-NA
Oyster River's Director of Information Technology Joshua Olstad has been elected to serve on the 2024 North American Leadership Group (NA-LG) for a two-year term, where he will have a hand in guiding the development of the A4L Community in North America. Additional information is available here.

ORCSD Director of Communications Elected to NESPRA
Oyster River's Director of Communications Genevieve Brown has been elected to serve on the New England School Public Relations Association (NESPRA) executive board as the New Hampshire State Representative. She will act as a liaison for group associations and support school communication professionals. Additional information is available here.

Important Dates

6/03 ORHS Science Showcase
6/03 ORMS/ORHS Chorus Concert
6/04 MW Parent Night for rising 5th graders
6/05 School Board meeting
6/07 ORHS Graduation
6/10 MW Barnyard Moosical
6/12 MW 4th grade celebration
6/13 MOH 4th grade celebration
6/14 Last Day of school with early dismissal
6/20 School Board meeting
7/17 School Board meeting
8/07 School Board meeting
8/21 School Board meeting
8/26-27 Teacher Workshop Day
8/28 First day of school (K-12)
8/29 First day of school (preschool)
8/30-9/02 Labor Day Observance no school

Mast Way School logoMast Way School




Willy Wonka Jr. MusicalA photo of Mast Way students on stage during the Willy Wonka Jr performance

Students shone bright during Mast Way's Willy Wonka Jr. performance in April. Grade 3 and 4 students delivered a high energy performance with complex choreography and costumes. Thank you to our PTO, families, staff, volunteers, community members, and technical crew for making this musical a memorable experience.



Celebrating Rising 5th Grade Students
Fourth grade students will be celebrated during a special breakfast on June 12. Rising 5th graders will be invited to partake in the activity with their families and students will receive a certificate.

Moharimet School logoMoharimet School





The Year of WaterA photo of Moharimet students in conversation with Nautilus Research Vessel team members
It's been a busy year at Moharimet filled with many activities to celebrate its "Year of Water" enrichment theme. From interactive conversations with the Nautilus Research Vessel scientists live from the Pacific Ocean to the Day of Water.

Many activities were offered to students by staff, volunteers, local organizations, and community members. Oyster River Middle School 8th grade students also offered learning activities to illustrate the importance of watersheds on the environment.

Finding Nemo Jr. Musical
Despite scheduling challenges due to a storm, Moharimet's Finding Nemo Jr. entertained and delighted a large crowd. Congratulations to our students who performed in the musical and a big "Thank you!" to the many volunteers, families, staff, and community members who made the performance possible.

Celebrating Rising 5th Grade Students
Rising 5th grade students will enjoy a series of fun activities during the 4th Grade Fun Day organized by Moharimet's PTO on June 7. On June 13, Moharimet will also hold a 4th Grade Recognition ceremony to celebrate its students.

Oyster River Middle School logoOyster River Middle School




Service PaloozaA photos of Oyster River Middle School students with Durham police officers during the Service Palooza car wash

On Friday, May 17, Oyster River Middle School students and staff of all grade levels took part in Service Palooza. Service Palooza is an annual volunteer tradition and an opportunity to give back to the community. Among the many activities, students and staff operated a car wash for school buses and police vehicles, and landscaping projects were done in the community.

Additional information and photos are available here.



Arts & Humanities NightA photo of a large crowd attending Arts & Humanities Night in the Oyster River Middle School Learning Commons
On May 23, ORMS staff, students, and volunteers hosted a festive celebration in honor of the arts and humanities. The activity was attended by a large crowd and filled with creative activities such as mandala pins creation and clay art. Physical challenges were offered in the gym and both food samples and live music awaited guests on the second floor. 

Additional information and photos are available here.



ORMS Students Honored at Music in the Parks
Oyster River Middle School students achieved resounding success at the Music in the Parks festival in Hershey, PA, on May 18. The ORMS Festival Band and Jazz Band both placed first in their school size division for middle school jazz ensemble and for middle school concert band. They also each earned overall middle school jazz ensemble and overall middle school concert band. Photos and information are available here.

Oyster River High School logoOyster River High School





Top Ten StudentsA photo collage of the Class of 2024 Oyster River High School Top Ten seniors.
Principal Rebecca Noe and the ORHS team wish to acknowledge and celebrate the Top Ten Seniors of the Class of 2024. In alphabetical order following the valedictorian and salutatorian: Landon Wolph, Katherine Stone, Maya Grainger, Chris Hawley, Ella Higginson, Marlise Hyde, Benjamin Limric, Abigail "Abby" Owens, Molly Schmidt, and Erin Turnbull.

Additional information may be found here.



Mouth of the River Wins Multiple HonorsA photo of Oyster River High School students James Li, Abby Owens, and Kevin Kell
Mouth of the River was awarded first place for General Excellence in the High School Division by the New Hampshire Press Association. Students Abby Owens, Mia Boyd, Kevin Kell, and James Li were awarded individual honors.

Additional information may be found here.




ORHS Hosted its Inaugural College Fair
On April 8, the Oyster River High School’s Gymnasium was filled with over 100 college representatives gathered for the inaugural College Fair organized by the school's counseling team. The fair provided an invaluable opportunity for students to explore diverse career pathways and higher education options, interact with representatives from various colleges, and delve deeper into their aspirations.  Photos and additional information are available here.

We're Hiring!

For more information or to apply, please visit

Retirement incentives mean a lot of openings! Thank you for sharing these opportunities with your network.

  • 6th Grade Language Arts Long-Term Substitute Teacher
    • Located at the Oyster River Middle School. One year position for the 2024-2025 school year. Requires NH certification in English 5-12 (0500).
  • Assistant Director of Student Services
    • Oyster River High School. Full-time position with competitive salary and benefits. Certified or certifiable as a Special Education Administrator.
  • Special Education Paraeducators
    • Moharimet, Mast Way, Middle School, High School. Full-time positions are eligible for benefits.
  • Substitute Teachers and Paraeducators
    • Multiple locations
  • Child Nutrition Workers/Cook 
    • Located at both the high school and middle school, multiple positions, no prior experience necessary.
  • Substitute Custodians
    • Multiple positions, no prior experience necessary.
  • Full-Time Custodian 2nd Shift
    • Located at Mast Way School. Comprehensive benefits package available.
  • Bus Drivers: 
    • $25.71 dollars per hour, competitive benefits package with medical, dental, long-term disability, 403b, 11 paid holidays, 15 days of paid sick time, and a $1,000 annual perfect attendance bonus!

Contact Information

To view our online directory please click here.